"Ten years ago, Congress passed broad income tax cuts," Axelrod said in the e-mail message distributed Thursday. "But in a cynical accounting trick designed to mask their long-term impact, they scheduled these cuts to expire next January."
If the tax cuts expire, millions of Americans face "thousands of dollars in higher taxes" Jan. 1, he said.
"That's why President Obama is fighting to extend the tax breaks for middle-class Americans," Axelrod said.
Obama advocates permanently extending cuts enacted during George W. Bush's administration on incomes up to $250,000.
"They're holding these tax cuts for the middle class hostage, demanding that we also lift the cap and extend the breaks to millionaires and billionaires," Axelrod said.
Echoing a familiar White House refrain, Axelrod said the congressional Republican tax cut plan would add an additional $700 billion to the deficit during the next 10 years without corresponding budget cuts.
"We simply cannot afford to go back to their failed policies," Axelrod concluded. "It's time for congressional Republicans to stop playing politics with tax cuts for the middle class."