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President Barack Obama defended his budget plan on Friday in preparation for “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
Addressing a crowd in the White House East Room, Obama stood by the plan designated throughout his campaign. He specifically promised higher taxes on the wealthy.
Obama said discussions with Congressional Leaders would start next week.
“I’m not wedded to every detail of my plan. I am open to compromise. I am open to new ideas. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced,” Obama said.
While Obama is willing to negotiate with Congressional Leaders, he will not accept a budget that doesn’t include higher taxes for the wealth. Obama’s spokesman said that the president would veto any plan that extended tax cuts for families making at $250,000 or more.
Obama stands by his plan because he said the country supports it.
He said, “This was a central question during the election. The majority of Americans agree with my approach.”
Republican House Speaker John Boehner opposes Obama’s plan, not wanting to raise taxes for wealthier Americans.
Boehner said Obama’s plan wouldn’t work well because “the problem with raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is that more than half of them are small-business owners. Raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says they want.”
Boehner proposed that cuts on entitlement plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps must be made to the budget in order to avoid a financial crisis.
“I’m proposing that we avert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures that 2013 is finally the year that our government comes to grip with the major problems that are facing us,” he said.
Both Republicans and Democrats have different ideas on how to approach the budget, but both agree that a deal must be made soon before the “fiscal cliff” tax increases and automatic spending tax cuts hit America in January 2013.
Next week, the first postelection negotiations will start at the White House. Friday was the first formal remarks Obama has made since his reelection.