President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he had seen some hopeful signs that Congress would pass a payroll tax cut extension for the entire year, as he maintained pressure on lawmakers to take action he said was needed to keep the U.S. recovery on track.

When a plane has finally lifted off the ground, you don't ease up on the throttle, Obama told an event aimed at showcasing how urgently ordinary Americans need the $40 per paycheck that the payroll tax cut is worth.

Call, tweet, write your congressman, write your senators ... don't let taxes go up on 160 million Americans, Obama said.

(Reporting By Alister Bull and Caren Bohan)