Obama refrains from veto threat on extending all Bush tax cuts

"What I am saying is that if we are going to add to our deficit by $35 billion, $95 billion, $100 billion, $700 billion, if that's the Republican agenda, then I've got a whole bunch of better ways to spend that money," he told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Obama refraining from issuing a veto threat comes on the heels of his doubling down on his position by personally calling to end tax cuts for the rich.

"We should not hold middle-class tax cuts hostage any longer," he said in a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday, adding that incomes above $250,000 should be taxed at pre-2001 levels.

"This isn't to punish folks who are better off, it's because we can't afford the $700 billion price tag," Obama said.

The dollar figure quoted by the president is the expected cost for extending the tax cuts for the wealthy over 10 years. If Congress were to continue them for one year, the cost would be roughly $35 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to act on the Bush tax cuts after his chamber votes on legislation providing tax relief and loan opportunities to small businesses.