WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is lobbying business and labor groups to support $1.6 trillion in new revenue to avoid an impending fiscal cliff, telling the two sides he remains committed to requiring the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
Obama was meeting today with about a dozen business executives as the White House and Congress face a series of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect because lawmakers failed to reach a deal to reduce the federal debt. Business groups want an agreement before the end of the year, warning that the uncertainty could roil the financial markets and harm the economic recovery.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president would bring to the table a proposal for $1.6 trillion in new taxes on business and the wealthy when he begins discussions with congressional Republicans, a figure that Obama outlined in his most recent budget plan. The targeted revenue is twice the amount Obama discussed with Republican leaders during debt talks during the summer of 2011.
Carney said the figure, combined with $1.1 trillion in spending cuts already signed into law, would reduce deficits by $4 trillion.
The White House meeting with CEOs follows a gathering of labor leaders and liberal groups Tuesday in which participants said Obama remained clear that he would push for his campaign pledge of making the wealthiest Americans pay more in taxes.
Failure to act would lead to spending cuts and higher taxes on all Americans, with middle-income families paying an average of about $2,000 more next year, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.