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Obama Urges Congress to Extend Payroll Tax Cuts

U.S. President Barack Obama is urging the public to persuade members of Congress to extend a payroll tax cut that saved a typical middle class family about $1,000 last year. The tax cut is set to expire on December 31.

Obama's message during his weekly address Saturday comes a day after Americans got news of a drop in the unemployment rate and the creation of 120,000 private sector jobs last month. The U.S. leader says extending the payroll tax cut would help build on those positive trends.

Obama says Congress should not go home for the holidays until legislators extend the payroll tax. He appealed to the public to get the message over to lawmakers.

In the Republican address, Senator Olympia Snowe appealed to her colleagues to reel in spending she says is driving up the deficit and slowing job growth.

Senator Snow is promoting passage of a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget.

Snow says unless the government is mandated to balance the budget, the economy will continue to struggle under the weight of an expanding debt, which is at $15 trillion and rising.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.