Obama to Hold Press Briefing, Meet With Business Execs

November 14, 2012 01:07 AM
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President to call for $1.6 trillion in tax revenue ahead of Friday start of negotiations

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

President Obama today will go public in seeking business and public pressure on Congress to come up with $1.6 trillion in tax revenue over ten years as part of his opening stance in coming negotiations with congressional leaders to begin Friday at a White House event.

The president will hold a press briefing today, the first since his reelection. He is expected to urge Congress pass a pending Senate bill that would extend the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts except for the top 2 percent in income earners. Obama will hold the presser at 1:30 p.m. ET, then a closed-press, Roosevelt Room meeting on the fiscal cliff with business leaders, including a dozen top CEOs. A White House official said Obama will stress "the need to ensure we are giving certainty to the economy and to the vast majority of American families by pressing Congress to act to prevent taxes from going up on 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of businesses at the end of the year."

Both of Obama's negotiating details are seen has the White House public strategy for what is expected to be lengthy and contentious deficit-related negotiations ahead. The president, unlike last year, wants to go public with what his administration is offering.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Obama would not be willing to maintain the Bush tax rates in exchange for a cap on deductions for households earning more than $250,000 a year, a leading Republican alternative. 'I don't see how you do this without higher rates. I don't think there's any feasible, realistic way to do it,' Geithner said at a conference in Washington. “When you take a cold, hard look at the amount of resources you can raise from that top 2 percent of Americans through limiting deductions, you will find yourself disappointed relative to the magnitude of the revenue increases that we need.”

Both of Obama's opening gambits will easily be rejected by Republican leadership. Last summer, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) discussed $800 billion in tax revenue, only to have those talks crumble when, according to Boehner, Obama raised the tax revenue ante to $1.2 trillion. Obama has not elevated that revenue goal to $1.6 trillion, suggesting a final figure of around $1 trillion should not be ruled out.

Comments: Republican leaders will insist on enforced spending cuts and reform of entitlement programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Obama is not ruling that out, but he has provided no details on this topic. In return for giving the GOP some of what they want regarding spending cuts and entitlement reform, Obama and Congressional Democrats are widely expected to seek additional economic stimulus funds.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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