(CNN) - With tax hikes and federal spending cuts only weeks away, President Barack Obama said he is 'optimistic' a deal will be met to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff and anticipates Republicans will not hold middle-class taxes 'hostage' in budget negotiations.
"I remain optimistic that there are enough people of goodwill in this town that recognize our economy will be much better off; American families will be much better off if we get this done," the president said in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC, which aired in part on Tuesday. "The most important thing we can do is make sure middle-class taxes do not go up on January 1st, and I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to try to protect tax cuts for high income individuals."
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While the White House and Republicans leaders have swapped plans and spoken about the negotiations to tame the nation's debt, no deal has been met to avoid the series of automatic federal spending cuts and tax rate increases set to go into effect at the beginning of next year.
Obama, Boehner speak by telephone after GOP counter-offer
While Obama and Democrats' deficit plan calls for extending Bush-era tax cuts for 98% of Americans while allowing rates to return to higher 1990s levels on income over $250,000, Republicans advocate for an extension of the current tax rates for all tax brackets as well as reforming the tax code and closing loopholes and deductions to generate revenue.
Obama's comments aired on the heels of a campaign-style event in Michigan on Monday where the president rallied support for the White House's budget proposal and remained steadfast that wealthier Americans must pay higher taxes.
"It is entirely possible for us to come up with a deal but time is running short," Obama said.
CNN's Dana Davidsen and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
If taxes go up on the small independent businessman, the opposite effect than the president expects will happen. Unemployment (the middle class) will rise and the economy will slow even more.
The President is more generous in his assessment of the Republican congressional leadership and delegation than I would be.
.....but do not yield to GOP pranksters, losing SS, Medicare deals, which hurt American Middle Class.
Does the GOP/Tea Party really want to be known as the "Grinch" or "Scrooge" who stole Christmas?
I'm glad he's confident. I'm not confident. It seems to me that the wingnuts and the political leaders of the wingnuts are cocooned in gigantic eggshell of epistemic closure. Within that bubble, any thought contrary to the messaging from Fox News and AM talk radio is soothed away as "bias" or simply false. Witness their daft belief in a Romney victory last month, despite all the data pointing to an opposite result. The data was "liberal bias".
To these people, REAL Americans want the rich to pay less taxes.
As an Old disabledVeteran with limited income i am ready and willing to pay a little more taxes.President Obama DO NOT give in to these GOP crooks Let the old Bill expire then the cry babies will have to negotiate in earnest.Give them nothing to stop the bill from being extended or modified . You are not running again ,what are they going to do .Cry and get Drunk because they do not get their way.
A thug holding americans hostage
I'm sure Pres.Obama will get exactly what he wants, He has Boehner by the nuts. And everyone knows it !
Time is running short Mr President ....do the right thing....pass what is best for the middle class & do not punish the successful....read Job Creators
I hope the President is happy with his co-operative attitude. He might be able to get away with that attitude in Government but in the Corporate world he would still be a miserable failure.
Republicans continue to strike out against the people. Take a look at America's past before the advent of organized labor. The corporate bosses ruled the land with an iron fist – squashing anybody who resisted their oppressive tactics. Working people were ground under the boots of the rich and the middle class didn't exist. Republicans yearn for that time...
Surely the bullied 2%, who have been asked again to pay for the bloated, wasteful, fraudulent, crony-filled Federal government, should take a lesson from the Michigan Union bullies and stand up and fight the self indulgent Obama's demands. Obama enjoys his pension and life of luxury while he demands the hard working small businesses, who are trying to build a nest egg for retirement, pay for his waste. If he truly wanted to help the needy he would donate the $100 million for his royal inauguration to the Washington DC public schools! But no, he would never make such a real sacrifice because he is not willing to sacrifice himself!
This is a clear negotiation. Republicans fight for the top 2% and Democrats try to protect the best interests of everybody else. It's time to throw the Republicans out – recall elections immediately (now) and certainly we'll need to clean house in 2014. The fat cats have had their run – now it's time for the middle class to enjoy life without threats from Republicans.
Who is he trying to kid, the republicans will give in even sooner, you know none of them want to spend christmas in Washington, every time I've seen brinksmanship played out near christmas, it always get settled so they can all go home and be santa.
Go ahead GOP, please, ignore the will of the American people and stand firm in your defense of the mega-rich, then we can all see the entire GOP become extinct in 2014.
The administration seems to want the financial cliff. PoTUS told us we were going to hurt, we are hurting, and yet, we voted for him in droves. We are about to hurt more, a lot more.
Will they all ( congresspersons) get off thier big fat ideological butts, and earn thier salaries and benefits and do what the vast majority of we the people know needs to be done.
1) Taxes go up to Clinton levels on the rich they did fine. NB the dire threats of job losses or its opposite job creation(ors) neither will happen. NB also the creators have those ( creator) rates now and according to Republican thinking we are not creating jobs but losing them.
2) We need spending cuts as part of the deal Now, and a good sensible look with a target number for entitlement cost savings for inclusion in March budget.
3) Social security: raise the earnings % contribution a couple of % points from employees earning more than $250k and do a transition plan to raise eligibility to 67.Also revise Cola adjustments. Then the government has to find ways of re-paying the money borrowed from this fund.
Where are the real budget cuts? The White House calls not increasing spending as fast as they could have their 'budget cuts'.
That is like going to the store and 'saving' $100 because you only spent $200 but could have spent $300.
Maybe its me just not understanding here, but President Obama ran on a platform of raising tax's, won the election by over 4 million votes, won the majority of swing states and we are still fighting over the fiscal cliff. I have to say, I sit here in awe at the stupidity of people.
I have every confidence that congress will screw it up. Again.