Obama Demands Tax Hike

Posted on November 10, 2012

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Washington (CNN) — Flush with re-election vigor, President Barack Obama called Friday for House Republicans to immediately pass a bill already approved by the Senate that would maintain current tax rates for middle-class Americans while increasing taxes of wealthier citizens.

In his first public comments since winning Tuesday’s vote, Obama expressed openness to negotiate with Congress on how to deal with pending tax hikes and spending cuts that create the so-called fiscal cliff facing the economy at the end of the year.

However, he also repeated his longstanding demand that Republican opponents to any kind of tax increase relent to the will of the White House and the Senate — and now the American people — in letting tax rates increase on income over $250,000.

Nobody in either party wants the middle class, identified as families making less than $250,000 a year, to see taxes increase at the end of the year when lower rates set during the administration of former President George W. Bush will expire, Obama said.

“That makes no sense. It would be bad for the economy,” he told a White House gathering of what aides described as middle class Americans. “Let’s extend middle class tax cuts right now. Let’s do that right now. That one step would give millions of families, 98% of Americans, 97% of small businesses, the certainty that they need going into the new year.”

Noting the Senate previously passed a bill to extend the tax cuts to the middle class, but not income over $250,000, Obama said: “All we need is action from the House.”

“I’ve got the pen,” he said, reaching into his pocket to hold one up as the crowd applauded. “I’m ready to sign the bill right away. I’m ready to do it.”

The president also announced he invited congressional leaders from both parties to the White House next week to launch talks on finding a solution to the fiscal cliff, as well as consensus on how to strike a comprehensive deal to reduce the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt.

Separately, a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” will reconvene next week to “assess where they are” in working out a bipartisan compromise on a long-term deficit agreement, a Senate aide told CNN on Friday. The group’s previous talks have yet to bring a breakthrough.

The gang of eight includes Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Michael Bennet of Colorado and the retiring Kent Conrad of North Dakota, along with Republicans Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Crapo of Idaho, and Mike Johanns of Nebraska.

Continue reading via Obama demands fast action on fiscal cliff, including tax hike on wealthy – CNN.com.

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