WASHINGTON -- The White House has launched an online campaign that enlists regular Americans to pressure House Republicans into passing an extension of the 2 percent payroll tax cut before the cut expires on New Year's Day.
Democratic campaign organizations have started similar efforts, but an online campaign by the White House -- with its millions-strong list of online supporters -- is likely to yield the most potent results.
Since an extension of the tax break that passed the Senate last week would only last for two months -- in the hopes of giving time to negotiate a longer deal -- some Republicans have belittled the cut as providing very little money for middle class families, perhaps only $160.
But the White House argued in a Thursday statement: "If Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut, the typical family making $50,000 a year will have about $40 less to spend or save with each paycheck."
And to lean on the House GOP to get them to vote on the Senate bill -- which passed Saturday, 89 to 10 -- the White House is asking people to go online and tell members of Congress what 40 bucks means to them coming out of the holiday season.
"Tell us what $40 per paycheck would mean for you and your family. What would you have to give up? We'll highlight your stories publicly so that they're part of the debate here in Washington," the site reads.
President Barack Obama plans to highlight some of those stories in an event Thursday afternoon, when he is expected to again appeal to the House leaders on the issue. He tweeted about the campaign Wednesday night.
The House rejected the Senate bill earlier this week in a complicated procedural maneuver that called for appointing members to negotiate a new, year-long deal with the Senate in a conference committee. But the House leaders could take it up again as a more straightforward yes-or-no vote that even many Republicans believe would pass.
Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.