Obama and Hatch spar over taxes in dueling weekly addresses
President Barack Obama used his weekly address to call on Congress to give "families like yours a sense of security going into the New Year" by extending middle-class tax cuts that would expire on Jan.1 , while letting the rates paid by the wealthy rise.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, countered for the Republican Party calling the president's tax plan "a classic bait-and-switch on the American people."
Hatch, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said Obama is calling for $1.6 billion in new tax revenue, twice the amount he campaigned on, while also calling for the elimination of the debt ceiling, a check on the government's ability to borrow money.
"These ideas are so radial that they have already been rejected on a bipartisan basis by Congress," Hatch said in the GOP weekly address, which like the president's is available on YouTube and broadcast on the radio.
Obama taped his remarks from a Pennsylvania toy companies' factory floor and presented the issue as a two-fold choice for Congress, either let all of the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush expire at the end of the year, which could push the nation into a new recession, or extend those on the first $250,000 of a family's income.
"It's unacceptable for some Republicans in Congress to hold the middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans," he said.
And if Congress would extend most of the rates now, it would give the government more time to negotiate a broader plan to reduce the federal deficit, the president said.
Republicans have largely rejected any plan that increases tax rates on the wealthy and have instead pressed Obama to start reforming major federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid now to reduce federal spending, something many Democrats want to avoid.
"They want more and more of the American people's tax dollars to spend without putting in place any meaningful and responsible reforms to the biggest government programs on the books," Hatch said in his address. "That just doesn't make sense."