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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, surrounded by his colleagues, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Tuesday rejected legislation to extend a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for two months, drawing a swift rebuke from President Barack Obama that Republicans were threatening higher taxes on 160 million workers on Jan. 1.

Obama, in an appearance in the White House briefing room after the House vote, said the two-month compromise is the only way to stop payroll taxes from going up by two percentage points.

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