Obama looks to cut deal with GOP on Bush tax hikes
President Barack Obama on Saturday assured angry US voters who routed his Democratic allies this week that he got their message and urged jubilant Republicans to work with him on a tax-cut deal.
“Your message was clear,” the president told Americans in his weekly radio address. “You’re rightly frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery. So am I. You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results. I do too.”
Obama vowed to target stubbornly high joblessness that spelled Democratic disaster in Tuesday’s elections and urged Republicans to agree to a deal on middle-class tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 but set to expire come January.
The president said he hoped to extend the cuts for all but the top two percent of earners, declaring: “I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another 700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”
Republicans have said they will fight to make all of the cuts permanent during a “lame-duck” session due to start the week of November 15, and Obama’s words left open the prospect of a temporary extension for those at the top.
“Something’s got to be done. And I believe there’s room for us to compromise and get it done together,” said Obama, who admonished his fired-up foes “the campaign season is over.”
“This a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love,” he said.
Senator-elect Marco Rubio, a Republican rising star, charged in his party’s radio rebuttal that Obama had set the United States on “nothing short of a path to ruin, a path that threatens to diminish us as a nation and a people.”
“The challenges are too great, too generational in scope for us to be merely opponents of bad policies. Instead, we will put forward bold ideas and have the courage to fight for them,” said Rubio, a darling of the archconservative tea parties.
Where Obama vowed to extend tax cuts on families making 250,000 dollars or less, Rubio said Republicans were committed to “preventing a massive tax increase scheduled to hit every American taxpayer at the end of the year.”
And Republicans will set about “repealing and replacing the disastrous health care bill,” a signature Obama achievement loathed by the tea parties, according to the senator-elect.
The White House’s opponents will also be “tackling a debt that is pushing us to the brink of our own Greece-like day of reckoning,” he said, a common Republican warning against a crisis-hit European nation battling runaway debt.
Rubio’s remarks made no reference to compromising with the Democrats or the White House in the wake of the elections, which saw the Republicans retake the House of Representatives and slice deep into the Democratic Senate majority.
This video is from the White House, published Nov. 6, 2010.