Obama urges support for tax package as Senate prepares to vote

Obama urged Democrats and Republicans to support his compromise with the GOP, arguing it would bolster the economy and create jobs. 

“I am absolutely convinced that the tax-cut plan, while not perfect, will help grow our economy and create jobs in our private sector,” Obama said in a short statement to reporters before his meeting with two dozen corporate CEOS. 

While there are parts of the package that members on both sides of the aisle will dislike, Obama said, “that’s the essence of compromise.”

The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Monday to proceed to the package and is expected to give Obama a resounding victory Wednesday. 

The path is a bit more uncertain in the House, though resistance from liberals has faded this week in the face of the Senate’s vote and polls that show the compromise to be popular. 

The package would extend all of the individual income tax rates signed by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 for two years, and would extend federal unemployment benefits for 13 months. It also would cut payroll taxes by 2 percent for one year for all workers, and would install a new 35 percent estate tax, with estates under $5 million excluded from the new tax. 

During the meeting with CEOs, Obama said he would address one deep frustration in the White House: business is sitting on $2 trillion in cash reserves, according to an estimate by the Federal Reserve.

The administration would like corporations to invest those dollars by expanding their businesses and hiring workers, and Obama made it clear he would push the CEOs on the issue.

The president said he looked forward to hearing ideas from CEOs that would help business invest in America “at a time when they're holding nearly $2 trillion on their books.”

Obama, who is also trying to improve his ties to businesses that were often at odds with the president over healthcare and financial reform, said he hoped to “elicit ideas” from the business leaders on how to “seize the moment.”

Business groups have applauded Obama’s tax deal with Republicans, and they also favor the free trade deal with South Korea that Obama finalized earlier this month. 

CEOs from Motorola, Cisco Systems, American Express, Honeywell International, UPS, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Centerbridge Partners, NextEra Energy, General Electric, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Dow Chemical, Boeing, PepsiCo, Intel, Pritzker Realty Group, Comcast, Duke Energy, Google and UBS are scheduled to attend the meeting, according to the White House. 

This story was updated at 9:50 a.m.