Biden: White House will try again to end tax cuts for rich

The White House will try again to do away with tax breaks for the top two percent of earners, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday.

Biden said that the administration is open to all kinds of options to address the deficit, including ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

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"We are going to once again attempt to repeal the unnecessary $700-billion tax cut for people who make the top two percent," Biden said in an interview with Yahoo News posted Friday.

The administration had long fought against extending the tax breaks for households earning more than $250,000 per year, but relented after Republicans in Congress refused to allow legislation to proceed that would have let those tax breaks expire at the end of 2010.

Instead, President Obama signed onto a deal during the lame-duck session of Congress that extended tax breaks for all Americans for another two years. The administration pushed hard to sell the deal over the objections of liberals in its own party.

Since that point, the White House has pivoted to talk more broadly about the possibility of tax reform as an area of compromise with congressional Republicans. Obama, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, called for tax reform that would bring down corporate and individual tax rates, while closing loopholes at the same time.

The administration is also examining spending cuts as a possible issue on which they could meet congressional Republicans halfway. Obama called for a five-year spending freeze in his speech, which would save $400 billion over the next decade, but Republicans have rejected it as inadequate.

The GOP-led House has instead proposed rolling back spending to 2008 levels, cuts that would have saved roughly $50 billion to $60 billion this year alone.

Biden suggested that the administration would be interested in listening to those proposals, which are likely to be detailed as the White House and the Republican House each lay out their budget over the next few weeks.

"We are open to additional savings that are suggested by our Republican colleagues, we are open to listen to it," he said.

But he said spending — which Democrats are calling "investment" — is still important.

"But ultimately, the only way that we are going to get to the point where our budget is balanced, and we are growing ... is if we, in fact, invest in education, infrastructure, and innovation," Biden said. "That is not just something good for providing jobs, it is actually the stuff that is going to make the economy grow."