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President Obama's Weekly Address: 'Constructive' Fiscal Talks Underway

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama gives his assessment of the first fiscal cliff summit with congressional leaders, whom he hosted Friday at the White House.
“It was a constructive meeting.  And everyone agreed that while we may have our differences, we need to come together, find solutions and take action as soon as possible,” he says.
Obama also nudges House Republicans to back an immediate extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all families earning less than $250,000 per year. A bill that would extend the rates on middle-income earners has already passed the Democratic-controlled Senate.

On tax reform, the president says there are two pathways available.

"One says, if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, then everybody’s taxes automatically go up – including the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year.  Our economy can’t afford that right now.  You can’t afford that right now.  And nobody wants that to happen," the president says in his address.
"The other path is for Congress to pass a law right away to prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of anyone’s income.  That means all Americans – including the wealthiest Americans – get a tax cut.  And 98 percent of Americans, and 97 percent of all small business owners, won’t see their income taxes go up a single dime. The Senate has already passed a bill like this.  Democrats in the House are ready to pass one, too.  All we need is for Republicans in the House to come on board," he continues.
Furthermore, President Obama calls on lawmakers to get to work soon on "what we all agree on" -- keeping taxes low for the middle class.

"We shouldn’t hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy," he says.

The president acknowledged that reducing the nation's deficit is not an easy challenge to solve, but says "we can do it if we work together."
"Because if anything, that’s the message I heard loud and clear in the election:  Work as hard as you can to make our lives better.  And do it together. Don’t worry about the politics.  Just get the job done," he says.

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