Quantcast

Obama to push extension of middle-class tax cuts

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, eager to shift election-year attention away from the nation’s lackluster jobs market, called on Congress Monday to extend tax cuts for only low and middle income earners while allowing taxes to increase for families that make more than $250,000 a year.

“Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy,” said Obama, flanked by a dozen people the White House said would benefit from the middle class-oriented tax cut extension.

Obama wants Congress to pass a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for households making less than $250,000 before they expire at the end of the year. He said the outcome of his November election contest with Republican rival Mitt Romney would then determine the fate of the tax cuts for higher income earners.

“My opponent will fight to keep them in place. I will fight to end them,” he said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama “would not sign” a bill that extended the whole range of tax cuts in full.

Obama has long supported expiration of the tax cuts for those making more than $250,000. But the White House and the president’s re-election team are reviving his arguments now as a way to paint congressional Republicans as obstructionists and Romney as a protector of the wealthy, suggesting the GOP push for an across-the-board extension of the tax cuts puts the middle class at risk.

The president’s announcement also follows Friday’s dismal jobs report, which showed the nation’s unemployment rate stubbornly stuck at 8.2 percent.

Romney supports extending the tax cuts for all income earners. His campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Monday that Obama’s proposal amounted to a “massive tax increase” and proved that the president “doesn’t have a clue how to get America working again and help the middle class.”

The contours of the tax debate are largely the same as they were when the cuts were due to expire at the end of 2010. While Obama opposed an extension for higher income earners then as well, he ultimately agreed to full two-year extension, in part to win concessions for other legislation.

Democrats see the tax debate as part of a larger coordinated attack on Romney, which includes intensifying calls for him to explain offshore bank accounts and release several years of tax returns.

The strategy is aimed at portraying Romney, whose personal wealth could exceed $250 million, as disconnected from middle-class voters.

Possible opposition from congressional Democrats

Romney aides say the Democratic attacks on the presumptive GOP nominee’s wealth an “unfounded character assault.”

Romney hasn’t shirked from his wealth in the face of renewed Democratic criticism. He held a $50,000 per person fundraisers Sunday in the Hamptons, New York’s exclusive string of waterfront communities on Long Island’s South Shore.

Romney aides also announced that the campaign and the Republican National Committee raised a combined $106 million in June, the former Massachusetts governor’s biggest monthly haul so far. The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $71 million last month.

Republican lawmakers immediately balked at Obama’s call for a partial extension.

“No one should see an income tax hike next year — not families, not small businesses and other job creators,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The president’s pitch may also face some opposition from congressional Democrats. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of his party’s Senate leadership, have both advocated denying the tax cut extension to those making above $1 million annually.

Extending the tax cuts only for households making below $250,000 costs the government about $800 billion less over 10 years than extending them for everyone. The full cuts cost the government about $4.5 trillion over a decade.

Obama was to continue the tax debate Tuesday during a campaign trip to Iowa. His re-election team was also promoting the president’s tax policy at a series of events this week in battleground states, including New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada.

The Bush-era tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year unless Congress votes to extend them. Economists worry that across-the-board tax increases, along with automatic spending cuts also scheduled to take hold at year’s end, could be a blow to the shaky U.S. economy.

Extending the tax cuts only for households making below $250,000 costs the government about $800 billion less over 10 years than extending them for everyone. The full cuts cost the government about $4.5 trillion over a decade.

Obama was to continue the tax debate Tuesday during a campaign trip to Iowa. His re-election team was also promoting the president’s tax policy at a series of events this week in battleground states, including New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada.

The Bush-era tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year unless Congress votes to extend them. Economists worry that across-the-board tax increases, along with automatic spending cuts also scheduled to take hold at year’s end, could be a blow to the shaky U.S. economy.

2 comments

  1. Thank you Mr President. Rest assured, like you are trying so hard to cover our backs, a good many of us regular folks have your back covered this election as well.

    Godspeed Barack Obama..

  2. Obama is moving this to next year rather than let Bush Tax cuts expire because he and Senate Democrats have already areed to the ‘grand bargain’ that cuts taxes across the board…corporation and the rich….in exchange for cutting more social and service programs and entitlements. The end of this Bush Tax Cut is minimal to middle-lower class taxpayers adding some hundreds to their tax bill. We have so much need in rebuilding our white collar criminal agencies to restore Rule of Law, rebuild our public sector and public services, and strengthen entitlements, that people need to tell their politicians to stop pretending the people want this extension while stating you don’t have the money to keep people safe and healthy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*