News / USA

Obama Cites 'Wrestling Match' With Republicans on Taxes

President Barack Obama continued to focus on the U.S. economy Monday, as he tried to persuade Americans that his policies are succeeding against the nation's economic recession.  During an informal discussion with families and small business owners in Virginia, Mr. Obama talked about the economy and chances for cooperation with minority Republicans on key issues.

The president has used this approach before to get out his message, meeting with a family in their home and then expanding the discussion to include neighbors and local businesspeople about what he sees as the benefits of government economic stimulus spending.

On Monday, it was the Nicholas-Armstrong family of Fairfax, Virginia - a husband and wife, both employed, who the White House describes as cautiously hopeful about the nation's recovery, despite having suffered from the economic downturn.

Answering questions in the couple's backyard, Mr. Obama made this point about a major issue linked to the economy - the question of extending Bush-era tax cuts that are due to expire this year.

"We're in this wrestling match with [House of Representatives Minority Leader] John Boehner and [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell about the last two to three percent [the highest earning Americans] where, on average, we would be giving them $100,000 [in tax cuts] for people making a million dollars or more, which in and of itself would be okay, except to do it, we would have to borrow $700 billion over the course of 10 years.  We just can't afford it," said President Obama.

The "wrestling match" involves Mr. Obama's goal of renewing tax reductions approved under former President George W. Bush for individuals earning up to $200,000 and families up to $250,000, while tax cuts for higher-income individuals and families would be allowed to expire.

House of Representatives Minority Leader Boehner surprised members of his Republican Party when he said on CBS television's Face the Nation program Sunday that he would vote to extend tax reductions for middle class Americans, if it was the only choice facing Republicans in a floor vote.

"If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I'll vote for them," said John Boehner. "But I have been making the point now for months that we need to extend all of the current rates for all Americans, if we want to get our economy going again and we want to get jobs in America."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs welcomed what he called the change in Boehner's position.  But he added that time would tell whether Republicans continue supporting "failed policies" that brought about the U.S. economic crisis.

But on Monday, signs pointed to continuing strong opposition from other Republicans to steps that would result in higher taxes.

As the Senate resumed work, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced he would introduce legislation to keep all existing tax reductions in place.

"We can't let the people who have been hit the hardest by this recession, and who need to create the jobs that will get us out of it, foot the bill for the Democrat's two year adventure in expanded government," said Mitch McConnell.

A key House Republican leader, Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, vowed to stop any effort that would raise taxes, saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should allow a vote on similar legislation to prevent any increase.

Whether on taxes or legislation designed to help small businesses, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says Americans want Democrats and Republicans to stop playing politics.

"The owners of these businesses aren't interested in partisan rhetoric, and neither are the people who they have had to lay off or the unemployed they have had to turn away," said Harry Reid.

President Obama compared the U.S. economic recession to a bad automobile accident - one, he added, that could have been prevented with better economic policies and financial system rules in place.

The president described as critical a need to ensure that banks begin lending more money to small businesses, saying that the government needs to make a direct link between the federal financial assistance banks have received, and the money they are actually lending.   

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs