POLITICS -- December 7, 2010 at 3:26 PM EDT
President Obama Defends Tax Cuts Deal to Liberal Detractors
Facing strong criticism from Democrats over a tax-cut compromise, President Obama said Tuesday that his willingness to compromise with the GOP doesn't mean he's reluctant to stand behind core principles.
At a news conference, he called making middle-class tax cuts permanent "a line in the sand."
The president said his job is "to make sure we have a North Star out there" for Americans, and that at any given time, he may not be able to get "my preferred option."
Top congressional Democrats signaled they will seek changes in the agreement. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the deal is not yet completed and that "more work" must be done. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying that discussions with the president and the Democratic caucus will continue in the days ahead.
Calling "tax cuts for the wealthy" the Republicans' "holy grail," President Obama promised a renewed fight during 2012 when the tax cuts would expire again, making the point that he still opposes the GOP position that high-income earners should also get the extension. The agreement includes individuals making $200,000 or more a year and families making $250,000 or more.
The president said he expects the unemployment rate to drop because of the new tax-cuts compromise, although he isn't predicting how much it will improve.