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Nov 9, 2012 Comments Off on Obama Says Fiscal Cliff Plan Must Include Higher Taxes Pat Dollard

Excerpted from On The Money: President Obama called on Congress on Friday to reduce the deficit in “a balanced and responsible way” in his first public remarks since winning reelection.

The president said Congress should extend the current tax rates for 98 percent of Americans, but raise taxes on households with annual income of more than $250,000.

Obama did not talk about higher tax rates in his speech, but said he would not accept a deal that cut spending and entitlements but did not ask wealthier households to pay more taxes.

“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. “That’s how we did it in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was president, that’s how we can reduce the deficit while still making the investments we need to build a strong middle class and a strong economy.”

Obama invited lawmakers to the White House next week to begin discussing how to “build consensus on the challenges that we can only solve together.”

He also said he was pleased that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week said additional tax revenue would be a part of a deficit-cutting deal.

“I was encouraged to hear Speaker Boehner agree that tax revenue has to be part of this equation, so I look forward to hearing his ideas when I see him next week,” he said.

In a press conference that concluded about an hour before Obama spoke, Boehner said it was up to the president to lead on the “fiscal cliff” of spending cuts and tax hikes set to be implemented in January.

“This is an opportunity for the president to lead,” Boehner said. “This is his moment to engage the Congress and work toward a solution that can pass both chambers.”

Neither Boehner nor Obama offered any details Friday on what higher taxes might be acceptable as part of a deal.

Both have talked about raising tax revenue without raising rates, but it is unclear whether this would forbid higher tax rates on investment income such as capital gains and dividends, or on the estate tax.

In both the substance of their comments and their tone, however, Obama and Boehner have suggested it is possible the two sides could reach a deal in the lame-duck session set to begin next week.