President Barack Obama is asking Americans to pressure Republican
lawmakers to vote for legislation he says would prevent a tax increase
on the middle class. The president is conducting a public campaign to
get his wish.
American families and businesses will face higher taxes January 1 if
Congress does not pass, and Obama does not sign, legislation preventing
this from happening.
Barack Obama delivers remarks regarding the need for Congress to extend
the middle class tax cuts, in the South Court Auditorium of the White
House, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The president wants to preserve the tax break for all but the richest
Americans, while Republicans want the tax cuts extended for top
income-earners as well. If Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a
plan by the end of the year, all Americans will see their taxes rise.
Obama spoke Wednesday in front of a group of middle-class Americans who
were invited to the White House to demonstrate their support for his
There was no question about who the message was intended to reach.
“If we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I will sign
this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way," Obama said "I have got
to repeat: I have got a pen, and I am ready to sign it.”
The president implored Americans to use their telephones, email and
social media accounts to help him make his case to Republicans in
Congress, some of whom have signaled a willingness to compromise.
“Today, I am asking Congress to listen to the people who sent us here to
serve," he said. "I am asking Americans all across the country to make
your voice heard.”
Obama’s campaign has not just been targeted toward the middle class.
This week he has also sought support from business and labor leaders.
“I am sitting down with CEOs. I am sitting down with labor leaders. I am
talking to leaders in Congress,” he said.
Some Republicans said the White House campaign will cause more harm
than good, leading opposition lawmakers to turn against the president.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday Obama needs to stop
campaigning and get to work.
“It seems like our friends on the other side are having some
difficulty kind of turning off the campaign, McConnell said. "We need to
sit down and work this matter out. I think we have a clear sense that
there is an opportunity here at the end of the year to do something
important for the country.”
The president and the leaders in Congress have held only one meeting on
the issue, on November 16.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, however, is to meet separately
Thursday with Senator McConnell and other leaders of the House and