Surrounded by people who wrote what 40 additional dollars per paycheck has meant to them,
Mr. Obama said he sees progress in getting Congress to go along with the payroll tax cut that $40 represents.
"Until you see me sign this thing, you've got to keep on speaking up," he said. "
The president asked that pressure be put on Congress through phonecalls, emails and tweets.
"Just pass this middle class tax cut, pass the extension of unemployment insurance. Do it before it's too late and I will sign it right away," he said.
House GOP leaders have reversed themselves, agreeing to the tax cut extension and letting the $100 billion cost be added to the national debt.
However, they still want unemployment benefits covered by spending cuts elsewhere, which is what some in the Senate want as well.
"I'm comfortable with an extension of it but I really think the extension should be offset," said Pennsylania Republican Pat Toomey.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner carried the administration's push to extend both to Congress Tuesday.
"If Congress fails to act 160-million Americans will immediately pay more in payroll taxes and five million people looking for work will lose or be denied unemployment insurance benefits," he warned.
Congress is in recess next week, eaving only two days the following week to act before extension of the tax cut and the unemployment benefits expire.