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President Obama Urges Congress to Approve Controversial Tax Plan

US President Barack Obama records the weekly speech, 10 Dec 2010
US President Barack Obama records the weekly speech, 10 Dec 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama has stepped up his appeal to Congress to approve the tax deal struck with Republican leaders.

If approved, the deal would prevent taxes from increasing for Americans on January 1.

During his weekly address Saturday, President Obama said the plan provides help for middle class families, and helps the unemployed through extended benefits for up to 13 months.

Republican leaders get an extension of the tax breaks sought for the wealthiest citizens - an action that angers many Democrats.

Mr. Obama says he is confident lawmakers in both parties will do the right thing.  He brought in former president Bill Clinton to shore up his efforts during a Friday news briefing.  Mr. Clinton said the plan is the best deal available.

In the Republican weekly address, Representative-elect Kristi Noem of South Dakota said the plan is good for small businesses.  Noem also applauded President Obama's efforts to avoid the planned Jan 1 tax hike, but said more needs to be done to jump-start the economy.

Watch President Obama's weekly address:

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