WHITE HOUSE —
President Barack Obama is campaigning again, this time for his plan to deal with a potential fiscal crisis.
Obama took his campaign to a toy factory near Philadelphia on Friday, asking middle-class workers and business leaders to press Republican lawmakers to pass his tax plan.
“And if we could just get a few House Republicans on board, we can pass the bill in the House, it will land on my desk, and I am ready. I have got a bunch of pens ready to sign this bill,” he said.
What is the U.S. Fiscal Cliff?
An agreement intended to force politicians to compromise and make deals.
Without a deal by January 1, 2013, sharp spending cuts would hit military and social programs.
Tax hikes also would go into effect.
The combination would reduce economic activity, and could boost unemployment and push the nation back into recession.
The president is trying to build support for his strategy of preventing big tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect on January 1. He hopes the public will persuade Republicans to drop their opposition to allowing tax increases on the wealthy while sparing other taxpayers.
As part of the campaign, Obama has been inviting business and civic leaders, as well as middle-class Americans, to the White House to demonstrate their support.
But top Republicans, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reject the president’s public campaign.
“In other words, rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he is back on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points that we are all quite familiar with,” said McConnell.
Obama met with Congressional leaders on the issue only once, on November 16. And a deal he recently proposed to Congress did not include any concessions to Republicans.
It was scorned by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. “Now, the White House took three weeks to respond with any kind of a proposal, and much to my disappointment, it was not a serious one.”
White House officials insist some progress is being made. And administration aides have been working with their counterparts in Congress to find a deal.
With both sides sticking to their positions, many observers in Washington believe no settlement is likely until shortly before the deadline.
Meanwhile, the president’s public campaign continues, with state governors and business leaders scheduled to visit the White House in the coming days.