WASHINGTON — New day, old bickering between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans.
Obama used his Saturday radio and Internet address to finger GOP lawmakers for a stalemate that could increase taxes on Americans next year. A leading Republican senator cast the president and his Democratic Party as obstructionists who want to place the tax burden on businesses during an economic slowdown.
Obama pressed the Republican-controlled House to extend Bush-era tax cuts for households making $250,000 or less while letting lower rates on wealthier taxpayers expire and go up.
The Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly passed such a measure last week; the House is not expected to follow suit.
"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," Obama said.
Responding on behalf of the congressional GOP, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Obama's plan would do more harm to the economy and criticized him with almost identical language. He called for extending current tax rates for all taxpayers and spending 2013 overhauling and simplifying the tax code.
"Raising taxes as our economy continues to struggle is not a solution, and the majority of Americans and businesses understand that," Hatch said. "The president and his Washington allies need to stop holding America's economy hostage in order to raise taxes on those trying to lead our economic recovery."