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President Obama on extending middle class tax cuts

President Obama spoke today on the need for Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans, rather than hold them hostage to the debate over tax cuts for the wealthiest:

[M]ost people agree that we should not raise taxes on middle-class families or small businesses—not when so many folks are just trying to get by. Not when so many folks are still digging themselves out of the hole that was created by this great recession that we had, and at a time when the recovery is still fragile. And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to extend the tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 for another year.

If Congress doesn’t do this, millions of American families … could see their taxes go up by $2,200 starting on January 1st of next year. And that would be a big blow to working families, and it would be a drag on the entire economy.

… I believe we should be able to come together and get this done. While I disagree on extending tax cuts for the wealthy, because we just can’t afford them, I recognize that not everybody agrees with me on this. On the other hand, we all say we agree that we should extend the tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people. Everybody says that. The Republicans say they don't want to raise taxes on the middle class. I don't want to raise taxes on the middle class.

So we should all agree to extend the tax cuts for the middle class. Let's agree to do what we agree on. Right? That’s what compromise is all about. Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy. We can have that debate. We can have that debate, but let's not hold up working on the thing that we already agree on.

In many ways, the fate of the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans will be decided by the outcome of the next election. My opponent will fight to keep them in place. I will fight to end them. But that argument shouldn’t threaten you. It shouldn’t threaten the 98 percent of Americans who just want to know that their taxes won’t go up next year.

Read the President's full statement here.

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