U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to extend tax cuts for another year for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 per year.
The president said in his weekly address Saturday a tax increase, scheduled to go into effect on January 1, would be a "huge financial hit" for middle-class families.
President Obama said under his plan, the other 2 percent of Americans would have to pay "a little more in taxes" on anything they make over $250,000.
Obama said "the wealthiest few Americans" would return to the tax rates of President Bill Clinton's administration, which Obama described as a time when the economy created nearly 23 million new jobs and the biggest budget surplus in history.
Senator Rob Portman from the Midwestern state of Ohio, said in the weekly Republican address that the president's plan for "raising taxes on job creators during a jobs shortage makes about as much sense as cutting off the water supply during a drought." Portman said the unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for the longest period since the Depression.
The senator said Obama has not focused on growing jobs and reigniting the economy, but has instead focused on "growing government" and remaking the U.S. into "the image of the debt-laden countries of Europe."
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.