Obama takes tax fight to Michigan auto plant

President Obama is headed to Michigan on Monday, where he will meet with autoworkers in his ongoing effort to pressure Republicans amid “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

Obama's visit to a Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford will come the same day the company announces a new $100 million investment to produce engines for heavy-duty trucks. A Daimler official told the Detroit News the investment will add production and jobs in Michigan.

The president is expected to use the trip to rally support for his plan to extend current tax rates for families making less than $250,000 a year, while allowing taxes on the wealthy to rise. 

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The president will argue that automobile workers like those in the Detroit area cannot afford to pay an additional average $2,200 in taxes every year if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement that prevents current middle-class rates from expiring.

The Detroit visit is the latest stop as Obama makes his case on taxes and deficit reduction on the road. 

Earlier this month, he visited a toy factory in suburban Philadelphia, where he warned that Republicans would be giving middle-class families a “lump of coal” if they allowed tax rates on working families to rise. On Friday, Obama visited a middle-class family in Virginia he said would be hit hard by higher taxes. The White House is also using social media to raise pressure on Congress from outside Washington, D.C. 

Obama is warning that middle-class families and the economic recovery will be hurt if Congress does not extend current middle-class tax rates, which are set to rise at the end of the year.

But Republicans want to extend current tax rates for all tax brackets, while Obama wants to allow the rate to rise on the top 2 percent of income-earners. 

The White House has warned it will not accept any deficit deal that doesn’t raise rates on the wealthy and has publicly pushed to pressure GOP lawmakers to pass only a middle-class rate extension.

GOP leaders say they are open to new revenues through closing loopholes and deductions but that a tax rate rise would hurt small businesses.

More Republican lawmakers, though, have indicated they are willing to allow rates to rise on wealthier families, in exchange for serious entitlement reform.

On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Obama’s plan to extend only middle-class rates might be the GOP’s “best route” to securing significant spending cuts. 

Obama bolstered his support among autoworkers during the recent election, when Michigan and Ohio were key states. Obama won both states, touting his support for the auto industry bailout and his administration’s pursuit of trade actions against China in the WTO.

This story was updated at 9:39 a.m.