POLITICS -- September 8, 2010 at 4:50 PM EDT
Obama Proposes Tax Incentives, Says GOP Is Delaying Economic Progress
President Obama challenged Congressional Republicans during a speech on the economy at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland Wednesday, saying the opposition party is obstructing good economic policy for political gain, while supporting policies that contributed to the recent recession.
The speech was aimed squarely at House Minority Leader John Boehner, who spoke in Cleveland in late August on the economy and would become Speaker of the House if Republicans regain control of that half of Congress.
The president called for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 and for the cuts to expire for families making more than that amount.
Watch part of the speech here:
The economy has been a top issue for voters this election cycle. In Ohio, for example, the July 2010 unemployment rate was 10.3 percent, above the national average of 9.6 percent for August 2010.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reacted to the president's speech by calling on him to stop a tax hike on small businesses. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 would also have their taxes increased under President Obama's proposal.
"America's job creators have already been hit with higher health care costs and related taxes, new bureaucracy and a financial regulation bill. Americans want jobs, not more government, more debt and more taxes. Let's start today with a declarative statement against tax hikes on the small businesses that are critical to expand and create jobs," McConnell said.
Mr. Obama said his administration's policies stopped a meltdown of the financial system and prevented a second depression. He accused Rep. Boehner of bringing no new solutions to the lingering high unemployment and other economic problems.
"There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy we already tried for the last decade - the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations," Obama said.
Watch more here:
In his Aug. 24 speech, Boehner called on President Obama to fire his team of economic advisers and extend all of the Bush tax cuts before they expire in November.
"President Obama has stated he wants to stop some tax hikes, and not others, once again putting the government in the position of picking winners and losers and pitting taxpayer against taxpayer. According to an analysis by the non-partisan Joint Tax Committee, Congress's official tax scorekeeper, half of small business income in America - half - would face higher taxes under the president's plan," Boehner said.
The dueling speeches represent battle lines in the 2010 midterm fight for control of Congress. Boehner, who represents Ohio's 8th Congressional District in Western Ohio, has a chance of becoming the new leader of the House in November. A recent analysis by the Cook Political Report predicted Republicans would pick up a net gain of 40 seats this fall, putting them in charge of the House.