IBD: What Obama may well do to stave off middle-class tax hikes in two weeks
He is likely to do the same thing that Bush and Clinton once did; namely to direct the Treasury Secretary to at least temporarily maintain the same tax withholding as existed in 2012.
Without Congressional approval, Obama cannot change the automatic tax hikes due to go into effect on Jan. 1. However, he DOES have the authority WITHOUT such approval to maintain existing withholding rates in anticipation of an eventual agreement that would be made retroactive to 1/1/13.
So while there is a lot of talk about the pain involved in middle-class tax rates going up in two weeks, for all practical purposes employyees won't feel it as withholding is very likely to remain the same.