Obama wants payroll tax extended for entire year

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama says it would be “inexcusable” for Congress not to extend a payroll tax cut for the rest of 2012 when lawmakers return from their holiday break.

Obama made the demand in a brief statement at the White House on Saturday a short time after senators passed legislation extending the Social Security payroll tax cut and long-term jobless benefits for just two months.

The bill, which awaits House action next week, sets the stage for another fight in February.

Obama says he’s pleased by the Senate’s approval. But he says extending the cut for the rest of 2012 “should be a formality” when Congress returns to work in 2012.