Holiday Showdown Over Payroll Tax Tests Obama, GOP

payroll tax cut John Boehner
payroll tax cut John Boehner

By Andrew Taylor

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stuck in a stalemate, President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals are slugging it out in Washington rather than reaching for a holiday season accord to prevent payroll taxes from going up on 160 million workers.

The tax increases, as well as cuts to Medicare doctors' fees and a lapse in jobless benefits, are due Jan. 1. They are looming even though Democrats and Republicans agree that they shouldn't happen. Instead of stopping them, the factions have painted themselves into a corner.