DENVER — With the economic recovery sputtering and November’s election less than four months away, President Barack Obama Monday put forward a new plan to extend the Bush tax cuts one more year for people making less than $250,000 a year.
Obama’s plan also calls for ending the Bush tax cuts for those who earnings are above that threshold, forcing Republicans and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to agree to his terms or look obstructionist and unreasonable in defending the tax cut extension for the wealthiest Americans.
That dovetails nicely with the Obama campaign’s ongoing messaging war aimed at painting Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider, who made millions by outsourcing jobs and laying people off.
But the plan also puts Obama at odds with House Republicans, who want all the Bush tax cuts extended, and House Democrats, who are pushing to extend the tax cuts for all Americans earning less than $1 million annually.
Trying to position himself in the middle on firm, pragmatic ground, Obama argued Monday that everyone agrees on extending the Bush tax cuts for those Americans making less than $250,000 — and that Congress should act immediately on that extension and worry about other extensions down the road.
“We should all agree to extend the tax cuts for the middle class,” Obama said. “Let’s agree to do what we agree on.
“Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy.”
The Romney campaign wasted no time reacting to the President’s announcement.
“President Obama’s response to even more bad economic news is a massive tax increase,” said Andrea Saul, the campaign’s spokeswoman. “It just proves again that the president doesn’t have a clue how to get America working again and help the middle class.”
If Congress can’t reach an agreement, all of the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year.