President Barack Obama said yesterday there was still disagreement with Republicans on whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and that he asked two top advisers to help negotiate a deal.
Republican leaders argue that it will be better for the economy if tax cuts for all Americans are extended. Obama may have to agree to extend cuts for Americans of all income levels for one to three years — an onerous option to many Democrats, but one that may be the most likely outcome if the two sides agree on anything at all.
Obama said he appointed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and budget director Jack Lew to work with congressional Republicans and Democrats to come up with a deal in the coming days to prevent broad tax increases from occurring next year.
“We should work to make sure that taxes will not go up by thousands of dollars on hard-working, middle-class Americans come Jan. 1, which would be disastrous for those families but also could be crippling for the economy,” Obama said.
Finding common ground, however, will be tricky. Obama said he and many Democrats continued to believe that it would be “unwise and unfair” to spend $700 billion to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while also trying to bring down the U.S. deficit.