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Obama: Room for Compromise on Tax Cuts

Sunday, 07 November 2010 02:30 PM

President Barack Obama urged Congress to extend lower income tax rates for the middle class during the lame-duck session of the current Congress and said “there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together.”

In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama urged Congress to quickly pass a measure that would keep the lower rates for lower- and middle-income taxpayers enacted under President George W. Bush.

“If Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats have different positions on the tax cuts, which were enacted in 2001 and 2003 and will expire Dec. 31 unless Congress acts. Obama favors extending them for families earning as much as $250,000, while letting the lower rates for the wealthiest taxpayers expire at year’s end -- an action that he has said will cut the deficit by about $700 billion over 10 years. Most Republicans call for extending all the tax cuts.

“I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” the president said.

Obama congratulated the winners of the Nov. 2 midterm elections and urged Democrats and Republicans to work together on such matters as reducing the deficit and implementing his proposal for a three-year freeze in discretionary spending for all areas of government except national security.

He said voters “made their voices heard” and have “made it clear that it’s time for results.”

‘Got the Message’

“This is a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love,” Obama said.

At a Nov. 4 briefing with reporters, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president is “open” to temporarily continuing lower rates for upper-income taxpayers to win the extensions for middle-income families.

The lame-duck session is scheduled to begin Nov. 15. Obama has invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House on Nov. 18 to talk “substantively about how we move the Americans people’s agenda forward.”

The lawmakers on the guest list are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky; Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois; Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California; House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The Republicans are currently the minority party in the House and the Senate. The results of the Nov. 2 elections gave them a majority in the House for the next Congress, starting in January, and Boehner is expected to replace Pelosi as speaker.

In the Republican radio and Internet address, Senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be a mistake to consider the results of the midterm elections results “as simply an embrace of the Republican Party.”

“This election is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what we said we were going to be,” he said.

He said voters want a “course correction.”

“The past two years provided a frightening glimpse at what could become of our great nation if we continue down the current path,” Rubio said, citing “wasteful spending” and the recently enacted health-care law, which he described as “government reaching ever further into our lives.”

“It is nothing short of a path to ruin, a path that threatens to diminish us as a nation and a people,” he said.

Rubio, 39, used his personal story as the son of working- class Cuban immigrants who came to the U.S. to better their children’s lives.

“That is what we must do as a nation,” he said. Americans must “leave the next generation of Americans a better America than the one we inherited.”

Republicans, instead of rejecting Democratic policies, should “put forward bold ideas,” such as extending the Bush- era tax cuts, repealing the “disastrous” health-care law, simplifying the tax code and reducing the deficit.

Rubio, a Tea Party favorite who served as Florida House speaker before running for the U.S. Senate, defeated both Governor Charlie Crist, who ran as an independent, and Democratic Representative Kendrick Meek in the Nov. 2 election.

Rubio will succeed George LeMieux, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated when Republican Mel Martinez resigned in 2009. LeMieux didn’t seek re-election.

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President Barack Obama urged Congress to extend lower income tax rates for the middle class during the lame-duck session of the current Congress and said there s room for us to compromise and get it done together. In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama...
Sunday, 07 November 2010 02:30 PM
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