Obama Pushes to Extend Middle Class Tax Cuts for One Year
President Barack Obama launched new efforts Monday to extend tax cuts for the middle class, arguing that a refusal to act would be a "big blow" to working families and the economy.
In a speech at the White House, the president asked Congress for a one-year extension of tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year. Current tax breaks are set to expire at the end of this year.
House Republicans are also pushing for an extension of tax cuts -- but of a different kind. They want to keep Bush-era tax cuts from expiring at the end of the year, which include cuts for wealthier Americans.
"Everybody agrees we've got to do something about these deficits and these debts," Obama said.
He added that extended tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are "least likely to promote growth."
"Let's not hold the vast majority of Americans and our economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy," he said.
Only a few months before the November election, Monday's address doubled as a plug for middle class voters.
Obama noted that his opponent Mitt Romney "will fight to keep (middle class tax cuts) in place. I will fight to end them."
"President Obama's announcement this morning will mean a tax increase for millions of families, job creators, and small businesses," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in response.
Extending tax cuts only for households making below $250,000 costs the government about $800 billion less over 10 years.
On the other hand, extending all of the tax cuts would cost the government about $4.5 trillion over a decade, according to the Associated Press.
Monday's address came on the heels of a dreary unemployment report. Friday's data showed the jobless rate still stuck at 8.2 percent.