President Obama urged Congress today to extend tax cuts for the middle class. Speaking at his first press conference since the election, the President said:
When it comes to taxes, there are two pathways available: Option one, if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, everybody’s taxes will automatically go up—including the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year and the 97 percent of small businesses who earn less than $250,000 a year. That doesn’t make sense. Our economy can’t afford that right now. Certainly no middle-class family can afford that right now. And nobody in either party says that they want it to happen.
The other option is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. And by the way, that means every American, including the wealthiest Americans, get a tax cut. It means that 98 percent of all Americans, and 97 percent of all small businesses won’t see their taxes go up a single dime. The Senate has already passed a law like this. Democrats in the House are ready to pass a law like this. And I hope Republicans in the House come on board, too.
We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. We should at least do what we agree on, and that's to keep middle-class taxes low. And I’ll bring everyone in to sign it right away so we can give folks some certainty before the holiday season.
I won’t pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy, but I'm confident we can do it—and I know we have to. I know that that's what the American people want us to do.