Reid tells GOP to 'come to grips,' extend tax rates for those making less than $250K a year

Reid’s comment came after President Obama addressed the country, saying he won’t back down from his campaign promise to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires as part of a deficit-reduction deal.

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Reid pointed out that the Senate passed legislation to extend the Bush-era tax rates for those making $250,000 or less a year, but the House never took the measure up.

“The Senate passed a bill to cut taxes for Americans making less than $250,000, and the House should pass it immediately,” Reid said. “Our bill cuts taxes for small businesses. When Republicans talk about small businesses, they are really trying to protect millionaires like Donald Trump.

“It is time for us to put politics aside and give the American people the balanced approach they are demanding. I am optimistic that we can meet this challenge before the end of the year.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said there was no consensus on raising taxes. Republicans have said raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year would harm small businesses.

McConnell said he appreciated the president's speech, but didn't hear any specific plans.

"Now that the election is over, the American people expect a plan that reduces spending, reforms the entitlement system, and puts us on a path to ending our chronic annual deficits—without harming an already fragile economy," McConnell said in a statement Friday. "While the Speaker and Republicans in Congress have sought common ground by calling for pro-growth tax reform without raising tax rates, we have yet to hear from Democrats on spending and entitlement reform."

The Senate returns to legislative business Tuesday. Lawmakers are working on a deficit-reduction deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” which includes sequestration and tax increases.

--This article was originally published at 2:09 p.m. and last updated at 2:35 p.m.

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