Republicans: Obama wants higher taxes

With less than a week before deep spending cuts kick in, Republicans in their weekly address accused President Obama of being ready to plunge the economy into a tailspin to extract higher taxes.

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“The fact is: Republicans in Congress, right now, will provide the flexibility to make the necessary spending reductions and address our deficit and debt, instead of going through the sequester. In fact, House Republicans have already passed two bills to replace the President’s sequester,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). “So the question is: Why won’t he work with us? And the answer, quite simply, is because he wants higher taxes.”

Obama has been traveling the country to create momentum for legislation that would replace the automatic, across-the-board cuts with a mix of tax hikes on the rich and specific cuts. He is expected to travel to Virginia next week to continue pressing his message even as Republicans have sought to pin the blame for the sequester on him.

"Hope springs eternal,” Obama said Friday. “And I will just keep on making my case, not only to Congress but more importantly the American people."

Hoeven repeated Saturday that the idea for the sequester originated in the White House, even if Republicans voted for it in the House and Senate. He said it's the president's whole approach – not just his tax policy – that's failing.

"The right way to address our deficit and debt, and get past the sequester, is not higher taxes or just better spending control,” he said. “It’s by creating jobs, growing the economy, and expanding the tax base.”

“Above all, you have to get the economy growing. That creates jobs and revenue from economic growth, not higher taxes. President Obama, however, not only wants higher taxes; he’s actually preventing economic growth and private-sector job creation. He is blocking it with more regulation, red tape, and bureaucracy.”

Hoeven, a former governor of North Dakota, went on to excoriate Obama for failing to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline that would allow Canadian crude – and oil from Hoeven's own state – to flow to refineries in the southern United States. The project, which faces stiff opposition from environmentalists, needs approval from the State Department to move forward.

“The Keystone XL project will carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day to U.S. refineries,” he said. “That includes not only oil from Alberta, Canada, but also 100,000 barrels per day of light, sweet crude from the U.S. Bakken region in Montana and my home state of North Dakota.”

He said polls show widespread public support for the project.

“Why, Mr. President, are you blocking a project that the American people support overwhelmingly? Clearly, it appears to be because of special interest groups,” he said. “It’s time to do things differently, Mr. President. It’s time to turn our country around with the right approach, and we stand ready to work with you to do it."