Obama delivers a statement about the action to reduce the deficit | Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT
WASHINGTON — President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that they want to work together to avert spending cuts and tax increases that could throw the economy back into a recession – but both also come to the negotiations with the same sharp differences they had before this week’s elections.
The key divide involves income tax rates. Obama wants to continue the Bush-era rates, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, for families that make less than $250,000 annually. Republicans say the current rates should continue for everyone, including the wealthy.
The president spoke at the White House for the first time since his decisive win Tuesday over Republican Mitt Romney, and he maintained that most Americans support his “balanced approach” of cutting spending while raising taxes on the rich.
“I want to be clear: I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan,” Obama said. “I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas. I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced.”
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, who spoke on Capitol Hill earlier in the day, said he was open to compromise on virtually everything – except higher taxes.
“Everyone wants to get our economy moving again,” he said. “Everyone wants to get more Americans back to work again. Raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs everyone says they want.”
“There is no consensus on raising tax rates, which would undermine the jobs and growth we all believe are important to our economy,” he said. “While I appreciate and share the president’s desire to put the election behind us, the fact is we still have yet to hear an actual plan from the president for addressing the great economic challenges we face.”
Obama won re-election with 50.5 percent of the popular vote, and the Democrats increased their majority in the Senate. The party expects to control 55 seats next year, up from the current 53. But Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives with a strong majority. FULL ARTICLE
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