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WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama urged Congress yesterday to immediately extend a tax cut for middle class Americans, arguing the move will give 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses certainty that will lead to faster economic growth.
“Congress can do that right now. They can give families like yours a sense of security going into the New Year,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
The president made the comments one day after he travelled to a toy factory in Pennsylvania to press his case for a plan to stop the US economy tipping off the so-called fiscal cliff, when automatic tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts come into force on January 1.
Republicans have rejected Obama’s first offer to end the stalemate surrounding the matter as “ridiculous” and negotiations between the two sides have hit a roadblock with just a month to go until the deadline.
Top Republican John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, has warned that talks on averting a year-end tax and spending crunch, which could tip the economy back into recession, are going nowhere. The showdown is a crucial test for newly Obama in gridlocked Washington, with implications for his capacity to enact an ambitious second term agenda.
Obama campaigned on raising taxes on households earning $250,000 a year or more to pay for deficit reductions and to fund education spending and other plans to boost the economy and improve life for the nation’s middle class. AFP