President Obama is using his weekly address to once again urge House Republicans to do "what's right" and pass middle-class tax cuts, saying their insistence on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans shows what's at stake in the election.
"It comes down to this," Obama said. "If 218 members of the House vote the right way, 98% of American families and 97% of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that that their income taxes will not go up next year."
The president said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree with his plan to extend the Bush-era tax rate for families earning less than $250,000 a year.
"When Democrats and Republicans agree on something, it should be pretty easy to get it done," he said. "But right now, that's not the case. Instead of doing what's right for middle- class families and small-business owners, Republicans in Congress are holding these tax cuts hostage until we extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans."
The president held up the dueling tax plans as an example of the contrasting economic visions facing voters in November. "Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President believe that the best way to create prosperity in America is to let it trickle down from the top. They believe that if our country spends trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, we'll somehow create jobs - even if we have to pay for it by gutting things like education and training and by raising middle-class taxes," he said. "They're wrong. And I know they're wrong because we already tried it that way for most of the last decade. It didn't work."
"We can't afford more top-down economics. What we need are policies that will grow and strengthen the middle class, that will help create jobs, make education and training more affordable, and encourage businesses to start up and stay right here in the United States," the president concluded.