The Slatest

Obama: I Have a Mandate on Tax Hike for Wealthiest Americans

President Obama spoke from the White House on Friday for the first time since his reelection, saying he has invited Congressional leaders to discuss how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In President Obama’s first weekly address since he was reelected, he said that his victory at the polls demonstrate Americans agree with him that the middle class should get a tax cut but the richest Americans should be forced to pay more. “If we’re serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes,” Obama said. “I will not ask students or seniors or middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people making over $250,000 aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes.” (Watch full address after the jump.)

The president insisted he’s “open to compromise and new ideas” but noted that he wil not “accept any approach that isn’t balanced.” The address came a day after both Obama and House Speaker John Boehner gave signs they would be willing to compromise on their tax stances in order to avoid a fiscal crisis at the end of the year. Yet it isn’t clear a compromise on taxes is within Boehner’s plan after he said raising tax rates “will destroy jobs in America,” points out the Associated Press.

For now, Obama has invited Republicans and Democratic congressional leaders to the White House next Friday to begin discussing how they will work together to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, reports the Wall Street Journal. Yet he has made it clear he wants the House of Representatives to immediately pass a Senate measure that would extend tax cuts on individuals making less than $200,000 and couples with revenue below $250,000.

What may raise problems though is that Obama isn’t the only who is touting his mandate. Boehner also said Friday Republicans had won a mandate by keeping control of the House, reports the New York Times. “Raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says they want,” Boehner said, emphasizing that lawmakers need to raise revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions.