Taking the venue for his weekly address on the road, President Obama made a visceral appeal to the American people from the floor of a Pennsylvania factory he visited this week, imploring Congress to approve a plan to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on the first $250,000 of Americans’ income.
Publicly, Mr. Obama is still at loggerheads with congressional Republicans, who have put increased revenues on the table for a long-term, debt-reduction plan but have eschewed the president’s push to increase tax rates on high-income earners.
“Right now, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income,” Mr. Obama said. “Everybody. That means that 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up at all. And even the wealthiest Americans would get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their incomes.”
Though Mr. Obama makes it seem rather simple, Republicans summarily dismissed a reported plan this week calling for $1.6 trillion in new revenues, coupled with $600 billion in additional savings, including changes to federal entitlement programs, and additional stimulus spending.
House Speaker John Boehner dismissed it as not a “serious” proposal.
But Mr. Obama said that Congress can give families a bit of certainty heading into the new year by at least approving a proposal that both parties agree on: preventing a tax increase on the middle class.
“The Senate has already passed a bill to keep income taxes from going up on middle-class families,” Mr. Obama said. “Democrats in the House are ready to do the same thing. “And if we can just get a few House Republicans on board, I’ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way.”
“But it’s unacceptable for some Republicans in Congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans,” Mr. Obama continued.
Mr. Obama implored the public to “let your Congressman know what $2,000” — the amount a family of four can expect to see their taxes increase if current tax rates expire at the end of the year — means to them by calling or e-mailing them, or taking to Twitter by using the hashtag “My2K.”
“You and your family have a lot riding on the outcome of this debate,” he said. “We all do. “And as citizens, we all have a say in the country we want to build — not just on Election Day, but every day. So make your voice heard. I promise, it makes a difference.”