President Obama is urging the Republican-led House of Representatives to follow the Senate's lead and "do the right thing" to extend middle class tax cuts.
Speaking to reporters at a Cabinet meeting this afternoon, the president praised the Senate for moving forward with his plan to extend the Bush-era tax rate for families earning less than $250,000 a year and let the rate expire for higher earners.
"It will provide certainty and security to families who are already feeling pinched because of the economy. It will be good for the economy as a whole. And now the only thing that is going to prevent the vast majority of Americans from not seeing a tax increase next year is if the House doesn't act," he said. "We need 218 votes in the House of Representatives… to make sure that 98 percent of Americans don't see their taxes go up next year."
In recent days the president has accused House Republicans of holding the middle class tax cuts "hostage" until lawmakers agree to spend $1 trillion on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.
"One of the things that I'm going to be doing, my Cabinet members are going to be doing over the next several days, is to make sure that the American people understand that we can provide them certainty right now for next year that their taxes will not go up, and they will then be able to plan accordingly," Obama said. "Small businesses will be able to plan accordingly, knowing that we've taken a whole bunch of uncertainty out of the economy at a time when the global economy is experiencing a number of disruptions."