November 30, 2010

President Obama, Lawmakers Meet on Bush Tax Cuts

Republicans maintain stance; Obama calls meeting 'productive'

In a meeting on Tuesday between President Barack Obama and leaders from the Senate and House, Republicans declared "steadfast opposition" to any increase in taxes following the Bush-era tax cuts' expiration at the end of this year, The Associated Press reported.

The president countered by stating his opposition to a permanent extension of the cuts on income greater than $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples.

Obama acknowledged that voters "sent a message" with the elections that they want "more results, not gridlock or unyielding partisanship," according to the AP, and said that there were things that needed to be done before Congress left for the December holidays.

This is the first formal meeting between the president and bipartisan leaders since the elections handed control of the House to Republicans. Attendees included Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, R-Ohio, was "cautious," according to the AP, noting past bipartisan meetings that have failed to "harvest new cooperation."

Speaking before the meeting on Tuesday, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Americans expected Washington to "put the national interest ahead of party interest."

"Congressional leaders of both parties will meet with the President at the White House today to talk about the work we have to do before the end of the year and, hopefully, about the things we can do together to foster the right conditions for businesses to start investing again and creating jobs," he told the Senate.

In the meeting, McConnell said Republicans and some Democrats were opposed to a "two-tier system after Jan. 1," and opposed raising taxes for the wealthy, the AP reports.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stressed to reporters on Monday that Tuesday's meeting was the "beginning of a longer-term conversation" between Democrats and Republicans about compromises that are "important for the American people."

Obama called the meeting a "good start" to that end, the AP reported.

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