President Obama this afternoon challenged Republicans to join with Democrats to pass an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for middle class Americans earning $250,000 or less “right now”, saying it’s something that everyone agrees upon and lawmakers should set politics aside.
“I understand there is an election coming up but the American people didn’t send us here to just think about our jobs, they sent us here to think about theirs,” he said. “If the other party continues to hold these tax cuts hostage … these are the same families that will suffer the most when their taxes go up next year. And if we can’t get an agreement with Republicans, that’s what will happen.”
Obama didn’t mention the tension within his own party about whether to hold a vote, or the Democrats who want to see all of the cuts extended temporarily.Obama argued that “economists say” the tax cuts for “worth an average of $100,000 to millionaires and billionaires” would not help the economy gain momentum. Cuts for the middle class would encourage people to make home improvements or buy a new computer for their children.
He pushed the talking point Democrats have used repeatedly in recent days: that 97 percent of Americans would benefit, and the other 3 percent would get a cut on their first $250,000 of income.
Helping the wealthy doesn’t make “any sense,” Obama said.
But for the middle class, “extending these tax cuts is right, it is just,” he said. “Everybody agrees that this makes sense.”
Obama ignored a reporter’s shouted question about whether he would veto a bill that extended the tax cuts for every income bracket.
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Additional reporting by David Taintor