President Obama speaks in the White House's Brady Briefing Room on Tuesday. Behind the president, a ticking clock counts down the time until taxes will go up if Congress can't reach an extension deal on payroll tax cuts. Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota says the "millionaires surtax" would hurt small-business owners' ability to hire new workers. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV) during a news conference on a payroll tax cut compromise. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP