Photo: White House
President Barack Obama is speaking at the White House, urging Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and reach an agreement over how to avoid the fiscal cliff. “Our ultimate goal is an agreement that gets our long-term deficit under control in a way that is fair and balanced,” Obama said, adding later: “If we get this wrong, the economy is going to go south.”
But he called on Congress to sepa separate the extension of the middle-class tax cuts from the rest of the fiscal cliff negotiations.
“Right now, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income,” he said. “That means 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses wouldn’t see their taxes go up by a single dime.”
Obama’s speech today is the first of several campaign-style fiscal cliff events the president has scheduled this week, including a visit to a factory in Pennsylvania Friday, as he attempts to capitalise on the momentum from his re-election victory, and back Republicans into a corner over the middle-class tax cut extension, which is overwhelmingly popular with voters.
“A clear majority of Americans agree we should have a balanced approach to deficit reduction that doesn’t hurt middle-class families,” Obama said. “I’m asking the American people to make your voices heard. Call your members of Congress. Write them, email, post it on their Facebook walls. You can tweet it using the hashtag my2k.”
*This post has been updated.
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