Obama keeps up the pressure as Senators Reid and McConnell negotiate 'fiscal cliff'
President Obama appeared on 'Meet the Press' Sunday as Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell tried to work out a last-minute deal to avoid plunging over the 'fiscal cliff.'
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“McConnell is unlikely to back a deal that wouldn’t win favor with House Republican leaders, though he eagerly wants a deal to take the revenue fight off the table so Congress can renew the battle over spending cuts when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling early next year,” Politico reported Sunday morning. “Reid, in the meantime, faces dueling pressure from some in his party who want a deficit-cutting deal immediately and other Senate Democrats who argue they’ll have a stronger hand in the next Congress if Washington goes over the cliff.”Skip to next paragraph
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Ever since he won reelection in November – running on a platform that included an increased tax rate for households earning more than $250,000 a year – Obama has had the stronger hand. Polls consistently show strong public support for raising taxes on the “millionaires and billionaires” Obama kept talking about. And most Americans are more inclined to blame congressional Republicans than they do Obama for the political hang-ups leading to the current fiscal cliff impasse.
Obama's approval rating is at a three-year high; Speaker Boehner's is at an all-time low, and a majority of Americans view the GOP as too extreme, polls show.
“They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected,” Obama said. “That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.”
And he warned of the impact if we go over the fiscal cliff.
"Obviously I think business and investors are going to feel more negative about the economy next year,” he said. “If you look at projections of 2013, people generally felt that the economy would continue to grow, unemployment would continue to tick down, housing would continue to improve. But what's been holding us back is the dysfunction here in Washington. And if people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn't been solved, that we haven't seen the kind of deficit reduction that we could have had had the Republicans been willing to take the deal that I gave them, if they say that people's taxes have gone up, which means consumer spending is going to be depressed, then obviously that's going to have an adverse reaction in the markets."