President Barack Obama will publicly discuss the importance of a payroll tax extension, a new push in his end-of-year showdown with Republicans, according to a senior administration official. The official said privately that Obama would hold an event Thursday to pressure Republicans to approve a two-month extension. Republicans in Congress were facing a torrent of political pressure and media scorn after triggering an uproar by blocking a compromise plan to extend a tax break for 160 million Americans. The conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, normally a bastion of support for House of Representatives Republicans, branded the episode a \"fiasco\" that could end up reelecting President Barack Obama. House Republican leaders stuck to their guns despite taking on heavy political fire, insisting that the Senate return from its vacation to work out a new compromise to unpick the pre-Christmas imbroglio. If the tax cut is not extended by January 1, payroll tax deductions, which are separate from income tax, will go up from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent in a move Obama says will hurt a \"fragile\" recovery. The hike would cost the average American $1000 over the course of 2012. Additionally, around two million people also stand to lose federally funded unemployment benefits.