December 6, 2012

Obama visits Va. family to highlight 'fiscal cliff'

The president reiterates his warning that he's willing to let automatic budget cuts take effect if Republicans don't drop their opposition to higher tax rates for the wealthy.

David Espo and Ken Thomas / The Associated Press

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President Barack Obama visits with high school teacher Tiffany Santana, to his left, Velma Massenburg, Tiffany's mother, Jimmy Massenburg, Tiffany's father, in the blue shirt, and Richard Santana, far left, who works at a local Toyota dealership on Thursday in Falls Church, Va.

AP

In a concession, Republican leaders have agreed to back increased tax revenue. Yet despite defections from within the rank and file, they have so far balked at Obama's demand that rates go up on income over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. They have also called for spending cuts and measures to slow the growth of government benefit programs. Earlier this week, they called for curbing the growth in Social Security cost-of-living increases, as well as delaying Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67, beginning in a decade.

Obama has said he will back spending cuts, including savings in Medicare, as part of a deal that includes the tax proposal that was a key part of his re-election bid.

Once Republicans yield on taxes, he told the Business Roundtable, "We can probably solve this in about a week; it's not that tough."

Republicans argue that they can raise about $800 billion in additional government revenue over a decade by closing loopholes and narrowing tax deductions on the wealthy, rather than raising income tax rates. They argue the rate increase would impose a particularly harmful impact on the economy and job creation at a time when the country is still struggling to recover fully from the deepest recession in decades.

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