Obama to call for Bush tax cut extensions for those making less than $250K

Posted at 7:01 AM, Jul 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-09 07:01:38-04

From Jessica Yellin

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama is expected to call on Congress to pass a one-year extension on the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000 a year.

A White House official said Obama will make the announcement Monday at the Rose Garden, surrounded by working people.

In addition, a campaign official said the campaign will “amplify the president’s message on middle-class tax cuts” by hosting a series of events in battleground states all week across the country.

In Las Vegas, for example, local elected officials will discuss Obama’s efforts to fight for the middle class, the campaign official said. In Colorado, Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio and state Senator Gail Schwartz will hold a press conference to discuss the contrasting economic visions of Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

On Sunday, a top adviser for Obama’s re-election campaign said the president was entirely dedicated to ending the so-called Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at the end of this year.

“He is 100% committed to it,” Robert Gibbs said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Obama signed a bill in 2010 to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, citing the need for economic stimulus at the time, but has since vowed he would not permit another extension.

The tax breaks are set to expire in what’s known as the “fiscal cliff,” a package of spending cuts and removal of tax breaks that will take place on January 1 if Congress fails to act. In total, they could add up to $7 trillion.

Tax breaks that would end include the Bush tax cuts, middle class protection from the Alternative Minimum Tax, and more than 50 “temporary” tax breaks for individuals and businesses that have been on the books for years.

For its part, the White House has proposed raising taxes on the very wealthy as a way to help make a dent in the federal deficit.

“Let’s make some progress on our spending by doing away with tax cuts for people that quite frankly don’t need them, tax cuts that haven’t worked and have them pay their fair share,” Gibbs told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

The so-called “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, would impose a minimum 30% tax rate on those making more than $1 million. The measure, however, was blocked in the Democratic-controlled Senate in April.

On the campaign trail, the president continues to call for a tax increase on the wealthy, saying they need to pay their “fair share.”

“We have got to make sure that those of us who can afford to do a little bit more — because we have been so blessed by this country — that the wealthiest among us can pay a little bit more to help close this deficit,” Obama said at a campaign stop in Poland, Ohio, on Friday.

Republicans, on the other hand, say the solution to the country’s deficit problems should center on spending cuts and further tax breaks.

Asked on Sunday about the looming fiscal cliff, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be a mistake for Obama to override a Republican-led bill in Congress to extend the cuts, should it make it to the president’s desk.

“The president shouldn’t veto that,” he said on the same CNN program. “This is the same president who signed the very same thing two years ago with the argument to do otherwise would make the economy worse.”

CNN’s Ashley Killough and CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.

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