Obama, who in 2010 signed a temporary extension of all of the Bush-era tax cuts, wants to continue the tax cuts for the middle class but has pledged that he would not sign a renewal of the high-end tax cuts.
Some Republican lawmakers have said they want to try to pressure Obama to get on board with an across-the-board extension but a report in The Washington Post said the president has no intention of caving in and White House spokesman Jay Carney made that point crystal clear to reporters while traveling with Obama to New Hampshire on Thursday.
"The president has long made clear that he will veto an extension of tax cuts for the top 2 percent of wealthiest Americans," Carney said.
Obama's veto threat highlights the hardening of positions ahead of the lame-duck session to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts. Without legislation to avert the cliff, the economy could suffer a $600 billion fiscal blow that analysts say could send it into another recession.
Republican aides told the Post that they would press the president to give up his request for a tax increase in exchange for cleaning up loopholes in the tax code.
"If there is concern about what we can do right now to address the so-called fiscal cliff, the House ought to follow the Senate and pass the extension of tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people," Carney said.
He repeated that the president favors a "balanced" approach to solving the nation's fiscal challenges that includes both higher revenue and spending cuts.
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