Delivering his weekly radio and Internet address from the factory floor of a toy business in Hatfield, Pa., Obama said the "clock is ticking" on important decisions Congress must make that will affect businesses and families across the country.
"The most pressing decision has to do with your taxes. See, at the end of the year, middle-class tax cuts are set to expire. And there are two things that can happen.
"First, if Congress does nothing, every family will see their income taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year. A typical middle-class family of four will see their income taxes rise by $2,200. We can't let that happen. Our families can't afford it, and neither can our economy," the president said.
"The second option is better. Right now, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. Everybody. That means that 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn't see their income taxes go up at all. And even the wealthiest Americans would get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their incomes."
Obama said if Congress does that now it will give families and business a sense of security about what to expect down the road and give the government "more time to work out a plan to bring down our deficits in a balanced way -- including by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, so we can still invest in the things that make our nation strong, like education and research."
"So let's begin by doing what we all agree on. Both parties say we should keep middle-class taxes low. The Senate has already passed a bill to keep income taxes from going up on middle-class families. Democrats in the House are ready to do the same thing. And if we can just get a few House Republicans on board, I'll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way.
The president said it's "unacceptable for some Republicans in Congress to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans. And if you agree with me, then I could use your help. Let your congressman know what $2,000 means to you. Give them a call. Write them an email. Or tweet them using the hashtag "My2K."