WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama Saturday said Republicans in Congress are holding middle-class tax cuts "hostage until we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president noted the Senate voted this week to approve extending current tax rates on all incomes up to $250,000. Current rates are scheduled to expire at the end of the year.
"Now it comes down to this: If 218 members of the House vote the right way, 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small-business owners will have the certainty of knowing that that their income taxes will not go up next year," he said.
Obama said "everyone in Washington says they agree on this."
"When Democrats and Republicans agree on something, it should be pretty easy to get it done," he said.
However, the president said congressional Republicans are holding out for extending current tax rates for all incomes over $250,000.
"Instead of doing what's right for middle class families and small business owners, Republicans in Congress are holding these tax cuts hostage until we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans," he said.
"You see, Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President believe that the best way to create prosperity in America is to let it trickle down from the top," he said. "They believe that if our country spends trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, we'll somehow create jobs -- even if we have to pay for it by gutting things like education and training and by raising middle-class taxes.
"They're wrong," Obama said. "And I know they're wrong because we already tried it that way for most of the last decade. It didn't work. We're still paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn't lead to the middle class jobs or higher wages we were promised and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits."
Obama said if Congress passes legislation extending current tax rates on incomes up to $250,000, "I'll sign it right away."
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