President Obama pressured Congress to avoid an impending rise in middle-class tax rates, accusing GOP lawmakers of holding those families “hostage” in order to enact massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
In his weekly address, the President called for lawmakers to adopt a Democratic measure which would extend the expiring lower George W. Bush-era tax rates only for those couples making below $250,000, and forcing higher income earners to pay more.
“Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President believe that the best way to create prosperity in America is to let it trickle down from the top,” said Obama. “They believe that if our country spends trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, we’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have to pay for it by gutting things like education and training and by raising middle-class taxes. They’re wrong.”
The House will take up both plans this week, with the GOP measure expected to pass.
Republicans charge that a tax increase on any Americans would further hurt the recovering economy, while Obama has threatened to veto an across-the-board extension, calling on the wealthy to pay more.
In his address, Obama again called on the GOP to decouple the middle class rates from rates for higher income earners.
“If 218 Members of the House vote the right way, 98% of American families and 97% of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that that their income taxes will not go up next year,” said the president.
“Everyone says they agree that we should extend the tax cuts for the middle class,” said Obama. “Instead of doing what’s right for middle class families and small business owners, Republicans in Congress are holding these tax cuts hostage until we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Obama said the country could not afford more “top-down economics” and vowed that as soon as they sent him a bill to block a tax raise on the middle class he would “sign it right away.”