Obama pushes to extend some Bush-era tax cuts
President Obama is pushing for a one-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for middle class families. But by drawing the line at households that make more than $250,000 a year, he set the stage for another clash with Republicans who favor an extension of tax cuts for wealthier Americans.
President Barack Obama is calling for a one-year extension of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for families that earn less than $250,000, while letting those that benefit the wealthiest Americans expire.
In a speech he gave at the White House Monday, Obama said economic growth depended on a strong middle class while criticizing the Republican theory of trickle-down economics.
"We've tried that theory," he said "We've seen what happens. We can't afford to go back to it."
Obama's push comes after Friday's dismal job report, which showed the June unemployment rate stuck at 8.2 percent.
Those numbers are also part of the calculation on Capitol Hill as Congress returns from its Fourth of July break. Republicans are planning a series of votes this month that include a repeal of Obama's health care law and an extension of all Bush-era tax cuts.
Republicans were quick to respond to Obama's tax proposal, drawing a sharp contrast between him and Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee.
"Unlike President Obama, Governor Romney understands that the last thing we need to do in this economy is raise taxes on anyone," said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney's campaign.
Republicans weren’t alone in the criticism of Obama's tax plan. Several prominent Democrats, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, said the cutoff should be $1 million, not $250,000.
Martin Kady, the congressional editor for Politico, said Obama's tax plan showed that the president seemed intent on sticking to the line that wealthier Americans should pay their fair share.
"The Democrats obviously think this polls well," Kady said, especially in swing states like Michigan and Ohio.
"The president's not going to raise taxes on them," he said about swing state voters. "But they might look at a Mitt Romney and be angry that this guy pays a lower tax rate than them."
Economists estimate that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people above the $250,000 threshold would generate $850 billion in government revenue over 10 years.
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