Obama says Senate plan 'only viable way'

December 20, 2011 - 3:15 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says a bipartisan compromise reached by the Senate is the "only viable way" to prevent a tax increase on Jan. 1.

In a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room on Tuesday, the president said a "faction" of Republicans in the House is refusing to vote on a Senate bill that would extend a payroll tax cut for two months.

Obama said, "The clock is ticking. Time is running out."

The president said House Republicans are trying to "wring concessions" from Democrats on issues that "have nothing to do with the payroll tax cut."

Obama says lawmakers owe it to the American people "to come together and do the right thing."