The Bush-era tax cuts expire and massive spending cuts kick in
Obama and Republicans disagree on how to approach the issue, Obama advocating an increase in income taxes on incomes above
Economists have predicted if no action is taken, the U.S. economy will fall back into recession next year.
Obama initiated a campaign-like effort to enlist the public in pressuring
"Now's the time for us to work on what we all agreed to, which is let's keep middle class taxes low. That's what our economy needs, that's what the American people deserve, and if we get this part of it right, then a lot of the other issues surrounding deficit reduction in a fair and balanced and responsible way are going to be a whole lot easier, and if we get this wrong, the economy is going to go south, it's going to be much more difficult to balance our budgets and deal with our deficits because if the economy is not strong, that means more money is going out on things like unemployment insurance, and less money is coming in in terms of tax receipts, and it actually just makes our deficit worse," Obama said, adding he is hopeful something can be worked out by Christmas.
Obama again urged the House to approve a
"Even the wealthiest Americans would still get a tax cut on the first
"And it would give us more time than next year to work together on a comprehensive plan to bring down our deficits, to streamline our tax system, to do it in a balanced way, including asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more so we can invest in training, education, science, and research."
Obama is to travel to
Obama also was to meet with 14 chief executives from big businesses.
Negotiations grew knottier Tuesday when several leading Democrats called on Obama to demand Republicans agree to raise the nation's
"We would be somewhat foolish to work out something on stopping us from going over the cliff and then a month or six weeks later, the Republicans would pull the same game they did before,"
The "game" he referred to was the summer 2011 debt-ceiling negotiations.
Republican leaders denounced Obama's "campaign" as a public-relations ploy aimed at bypassing congressional leaders.
Senate Minority Leader
He said Obama should focus on ensuring Democrats compromise over higher tax rates for the wealthy.
"If the president wants a solution to the challenges of the moment, the people he needs to be talking to are the members of his own party, so he can convince them of the need to act,'' McConnell said.
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