By Amie Parnes - 12/06/12 07:47 PM EST
President Obama visited a middle-class family in Virginia on Thursday to underline his call for tax rates to be raised on the wealthy but not the middle class.
Obama reiterated that that he would not sign any legislation that would prevent the wealthiest individuals from paying higher tax rates.
“Everyone is going to have to share in some sacrifice,” Obama said, speaking at a private home in Northern Virginia. “But it starts with folks who are in the best position to sacrifice.
“Just to be clear,” the president reaffirmed while sitting at the family's kitchen table as television cameras rolled, “I'm not going to sign any package that somehow prevents the top rate from going up, the top 2 percent from going up.”
Obama said going over the fiscal cliff would be “bad for our economy and it puts us back in a downward spiral,” while arguing that “this is a solvable problem.”
Obama urged Congress to act now, three weeks before the deadline, because “the closer it gets to the brink, the more stressed we're going to be,” he said.
The president spoke Wednesday on the phone with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on the matter. The White House and Boehner have exchanged proposals as they work to avoid scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts next year that economists say could trigger a recession.
Obama wants rates on annual income above $250,000 to be raised, while Republicans have said no tax rates should rise.
The president said that the family he met with on Thursday shouldn't be burdened unnecessarily because Democrats and Republicans aren't coming together to resolve those problems.
With no action, tax rates are set to rise for most households on Jan. 1.