WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will call on Monday for a one-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 a year, according to a White House official, seeking to spare the economy the impact of taxes going up on January 1.
Obama, a Democrat, will make the request in a statement at the White House, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Republicans in Congress, however, are unlikely to be swayed, as they have consistently argued that the Bush tax cuts should be extended for everyone.
Obama has made what he calls "tax fairness" a key feature of his campaign for re-election on November 6, repeatedly urging Congress to make the tax cuts permanent for families making less than $250,000 a year.
The tax cuts enacted by Obama's Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, will expire on January 1 without congressional action, part of a so-called fiscal cliff that potentially could hit the U.S. economy alongside deep automatic spending cuts.
Analysts warn the impact of rising taxes and lower federal spending could tip the economy back into recession.
The New York Times said Obama would announce the tax cut extension in the Rose Garden on Monday, citing un-named senior administration officials.
It reported that the proposal would mean another fight between the White House and Republicans, and could also “put him at odds with Democratic leaders like Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who have advocated extending the cuts for everyone who earns up to $1 million”.
Its report said the announcement comes “as both parties and their presidential candidates head into the rest of the summer trying to seize the upper hand in a campaign that has been closely matched and stubbornly static”.
President Obama tells a group of supporters in Poland, Ohio, takes aim at rival Mitt Romney and his prescription for the economy while maintaining that the overall employment numbers, from the past 28 months – and the creation of 5.4 million new jobs – are a "step in the right direction."
Representative Tom Price, a member of the House Republican leadership, said earlier on the "Fox News Sunday" program that the House would pass legislation before the end of July to preserve the Bush tax cuts for another year.
Republicans control the House of Representatives and Obama's fellow Democrats control the Senate.
Representative Xavier Becerra, a member of the House Democratic leadership, said Democrats would not support any measure that did not address the nation's fiscal challenges on a long-term basis.
"Those are bills to nowhere," Becerra said on "Fox News Sunday," referring to the House Republicans' legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts.