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After House Republicans imploded over their own Plan B, President Obama took away much of his previous proposal by calling for Republicans to get their act together and cut taxes on the 98% right now.
Obama said he met them on taxes and he met them more than halfway on spending, The president said he is still committed to working towards the goal of making a deal, but in 10 days we are facing a deadline. The president then reiterated his call for Congress to immediately extend the Bush tax cuts for the 98%. He said he spoke to both Boehner and Reid, and he is asking them to extend the tax cuts for the 98% and extend unemployment benefits. Obama said, “Governing is a shared responsibility between both parties…everybody’s got to give a little bit in a sensible way. We move forward together, or we don’t move forward at all.”
The president turned up the heat by asking members of Congress to think about their obligations to the people that they serve over Christmas. President Obama said, “We’re going to have find some common ground.” He said the challenge is that the American people are much more sensible, responsible, and willing to compromise than the people they elected.
Underneath all the nice language about compromise, President Obama pulled back any sort of cuts that he had offered in his previous proposal by urging Republicans and Democrats to pass a tax cut extension for the 98%. In other words, that $400,000 income cutoff for the tax cut extension is gone, and we are back to $250,000. In fact, the President appeared to take all spending cuts off the table.
Obama’s call for congressional leadership to put spending cuts on the shelf and cut taxes for the 98% is exactly what he has wanted all along. Republicans blew their once chance at a deal, and now it looks like they can kiss any immediate entitlement cuts goodbye. It would surprise no one if Republicans reject what the president put on the table today, but the president is making House Republicans pay a price for their incompetence by cutting his offer.
It looks like Republicans will either have to go off the cliff, or give President Obama everything he wants right now.