Obama takes â€˜fiscal cliffâ€™ case to public; GOP turns to Rubio to make its case
After a week in which lawmakers in Washington said there had been â€œno progressâ€ on the â€œfiscal cliffâ€ talks, President Obama reiterated for Republicans his stand on the gridlocked negotiations: No deal without higher taxes on high-income Americans.
In his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, the president said his re-election on Nov. 6 settled the issue of whether Americans support higher tax rates.
â€œIf weâ€™re serious about reducing our deficit while still investing in things like education and research that are important to growing our economy â€” and if weâ€™re serious about protecting middle-class families â€” then weâ€™re also going to have to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay higher tax rates. Thatâ€™s one principle I wonâ€™t compromise on,â€ he said.
â€œAfter all, this was a central question in the election,â€ the president said in the taped remarks.
As perhaps evidence of the ever-rising stakes in the ongoing fiscal showdown, the GOP response on Saturday came from Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican and potential 2016 contender who has assumed a prominent role as one of the national faces of the party in the wake of Mitt Romneyâ€™s defeat.
â€œTax increases will not solve our $16 trillion debt. Only economic growth and a reform of entitlement programs will help control the debt,â€ Mr. Rubio said. â€œWe must reform our complicated, uncertain, job-killing tax code, by getting rid of unjustified loopholes. But our goal should be to generate new revenue by creating new taxpayers, not new taxes.â€
Democrats, led by the president, and Republicans on Capitol Hill are struggling to come together on a compromise budget deal that would avert the â€œfiscal cliffâ€ â€” the package of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January that economists say will trigger a national recesssion.