U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Congress to pass a law preventing an automatic tax hike on individuals and businesses on January 1.
During his weekly address Saturday, Obama said the middle class should not be held "hostage" while Congress debates tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year.
President Obama says he had a constructive meeting with congressional leaders Friday on lowering the deficit, protecting the middle class and boosting the economy.
In the Republican address, Senator Kelly Ayotte said she and her colleagues must reach an accord on avoiding tax hikes and deep spending cuts in areas such as defense.
Ayotte said eliminating wasteful spending should be a first option instead of raising taxes because it would be less harmful to the economy, especially for small businesses and people looking for work.