Washington: President Barack Obama told Americans on Monday that he wants Congress to extend tax cuts for the country's middle class while letting them rise on high income earners.
As he attempts to turn voters' attention from the stagnant unemployment numbers now standing at 8.2 percent and limp economic recovery, Obama spoke at the White House as he made an opening campaign pitch for continuing middle class tax relief.
He also said continuing tax cuts for high-income earners was a major driver of the skyrocketing US federal budget deficit.
But extending the tax cuts for the middle class, the president said, would help the 98 percent of the American people who don't make more than USD 250,000. Absence of the extension, he said, "would be an incredible drag on the economy."
The White House is again raising the tax issue with full knowledge that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will not accept such a move unless it also includes extending tax cuts for high income earners.
That is a symptom of the legislative and political gridlock consuming Washington in advance of the November elections.
Another example is the plan in the House to vote to remove Obama's health care overhaul from the books. That will be blocked by the Democratic-controlled Senate and would be vetoed by Obama even should it pass both houses in Congress.
A one-year across-the-board tax cut that would extend the lower rates instituted under former President George W. Bush expires at the end of the year.
The White House official said Obama will call for yet another one-year extension of tax cuts but only for people making less than USD 250,000 a year.
The Romney campaign responded quickly.
"President Obama's announcement this morning will mean a tax increase for millions of families, job creators, and small businesses," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a
An official at Obama's re-election campaign says it will promote the president's economic agenda in a series of events this week in battleground states, including New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to preview Obama's announcement.
Meanwhile, Obama's campaign and the Democratic party raised USD 71 million in June, well below the USD 106 million hauled in by Romney and the Republican party during the same period. It was the second straight month that Romney has raised more money than Obama.


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