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Obama gov't touts tax cut victory, rebuilding America blueprint (2)

By Xinhua writer Jiang Xufeng (Xinhua)

09:47, February 22, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (1st L) attend an event about the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance at the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Feb. 21, 2012. Obama on Tuesday welcomed an agreement by Congress to extend payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, calling for continued bipartisanship to help the economy. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

MIXED REACTION

In an presidential election year, the payroll tax and jobless benefits deal drew hyperbolic rhetoric from the rival parties.

With public approval rating for Congress at a record low, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, the top GOP congressman, and his top GOP lieutenants said last week that they would not insist that the cost of the deal be offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

The passage of the 143-billion-dollar measure before this week' s congressional recess ended a contentious political fight, but sparked mixed reaction from Republicans and Democrats. Boehner and other GOP leaders used the bill to attack the economic policies of the Obama administration on Friday which marked the third anniversary of Obama's 787-billion-dollar stimulus plan.

The payroll tax and jobless benefits deal was an "economic relief bill," not a "growth bill," Boehner charged, adding that " the only reason the provisions at the core of this measure are even necessary is because the president's economic policies have failed."

"Today is the 3rd anniversary of the president's failed ' stimulus'bill, and it's yet another reminder that we need to change course and focus on pro-growth economic policies that help small businesses create jobs," noted Boehner.

Facing a struggling economy, the bill was the "important thing to do" to keep this economy growing, Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democratic congressman, said Friday on the House floor.

"We need to create more jobs, expand opportunities and make sure that the American Dream is alive for all working Americans," Hoyer added.

"More people spending more money means more businesses will be able to hire more workers, and the entire economy gets another boost just as the recovery is starting to gain some steam," Obama said Tuesday at the White House event flanked by middle-class Americans.

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