President Obama, speaking at a Winston-Salem community college in North Carolina Monday, said a deal was in the works with congressional Republicans to extend income tax cuts first passed under President George W. Bush and predicted that "no ordinary American" would pay more in taxes in 2011.
Mr. Obama has been sparring with Republicans over the fate of the tax cuts in the current congressional lame-duck session. Republicans want all of the tax breaks extended permanently, while Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats have held out to extend them only for "middle-class" households earning below $250,000 a year.
A compromise appeared to be developing over the weekend to extend all the tax cuts for a shorter period of time, while including an extension of expired unemployment benefits that many Republicans had objected to.
Democrats failed to break a Republican filibuster on the issue over the weekend in a rare Saturday session.
The president's remarks came as part of his "White House to Main Street" speaking tour and were Mr. Obama's first public comments since the release of last week's disappointing unemployment figures.
The jobless rate, which went up in November to 9.8 percent, was an indication, the president said, that "we are still emerging from a once-in-a-lifetime recession."
He predicted a bipartisan compromise on the Bush-era tax cuts, and told the Forsyth Technical Community College crowd, that "we should also extend unemployment insurance."
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