President Obama on Wednesday escalated pressure on congressional Republicans to consent to legislation that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income, calling it the only means of averting an across-the-board tax hike.
- At a news conference, Obama again vowed to let Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent expire, and said addressing loopholes and deductions alone would not sufficiently close the budget deficit.
- Obama referenced exit polls that showed a wide majority of Americans support permitting the high-earners’ tax cuts to lapse as a means of restoring the nation’s fiscal health. “More voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me,” he said. In his first question-and-answer session since winning a second term, Obama also signaled willingness to tackle entitlement reform and to negotiate his position, saying, “I’m not just going to slam the door in their face. I want to hear ideas from everybody.”
- Obama said the middle-class tax cut extension, in time to meet the end-of-the-year deadline, could occur as early as next week. Congressional Republicans have solidly backed extensions of tax cuts for all income levels, and a preference to address deficit reduction through spending cuts and tax code reform.
- "I think that there are loopholes that can be closed, and we should look at how we can make the process of deductions, the filing process easier, simpler, but when it comes to the top 2 percent, what I'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it which would cost close to $1 trillion, and it's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars if we're serious about deficit reduction just by closing loopholes and deductions. The math tends not to work, and I think it's important to establish a basic principle that was debated extensively during the course of this campaign."
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