President Obama on Saturday defended his plan for extending the Bush-era tax cuts, set to expire at the end of this year, only for those earning under $260,000 a year.
"The folks in Congress and on the campaign trail who oppose this plan warn that it would somehow hurt small businesses and job creators," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "Well, they're completely ignoring the facts."
"Under my plan, 97 percent of small business owners would avoid getting hit with any income tax hike whatsoever. In fact, I've cut taxes for small businesses 18 times since I've been president. And just this week, I ordered a series of new steps to help our small businesses grow and hire."
The president's plan has been a nonstarter in the Republican-controlled House, where leaders want all the Bush-era tax cuts extended, but the White House has been using the issue on the campaign trail to characterize himself as a champion of the middle class.
In the Republican response on Saturday, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said Mr. Obama's proposal would punish many small business owners who report business profits as personal income.
"Based on this record, you'd think that President Obama would've learned from his mistakes. Instead he seems to be doubling down," Mr. Portman said.
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