WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama Wednesday said Republicans "want to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage" unless taxes are also cut for the wealthiest Americans.
Obama welcomed the support of two Republican senators -- George Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida -- who agreed to support his small business legislative package. He chided Republicans for taking so long to come around on the small business loan legislation and once again blasted Republicans who won't go along with his proposal to end George W. Bush-era tax cuts enjoyed by the nation's wealthiest.
"After months of partisan blockade in the Senate, we are finally on the verge of passing a small business jobs bill that will cut taxes and provide loans for millions of small business owners across America," Obama said. "And while I am grateful for this progress, it should not have taken this long to pass this bill.
"But for months, the Republican leadership in the Senate has said no."
Obama said small business owners kept "putting off plans to hire more workers and grow their businesses."
He thanked Voinovich and LeMieux for helping break the GOP blockade, saying "they understand that we simply don't have time anymore to play games."
"(Republicans) want to hold these middle-class tax cuts hostage until they get an additional tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans," Obama said.
"We simply can't afford that. It would mean borrowing $700 billion in order to fund these tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans ... . And it's a tax cut economists say would do little to add momentum to our economy.
"Middle-class families need this relief. These are the Americans who saw their wages and incomes flat-line over the last decade, who've seen the costs of everything from health care to college tuition skyrocket and who have been hardest hit by this recession."