Ready to work with Republicans to avoid fiscal cliff: Obama

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 08, 2012 18:56 hrs

pPresident Barack Obama accused by Republican House Speaker John Boehner of pushing the country toward the &ldquofiscal cliff&rdquo said on Saturday he was ready to work with congressional Republicans on a comprehensive plan to cut budget deficits as long it included higher taxes on the wealthyppObama is battling Republican lawmakers over how to avoid the combination of sharp tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in early next year that could plunge the economy back into recession In his weekly radio address the president renewed his call for Republicans to extend middle-class tax cuts while letting tax rates go up for the wealthy He also said he would be willing to find ways to bring down healthcare costs and make additional cuts to government social safety-net programmespp&ldquoWe can and should do more than just extend middle-class tax cuts&rdquo he said &ldquoI stand ready to work with Republicans on a plan that spurs economic growth creates jobs and reduces our deficit &mdasha plan that gives both sides some of what they want&rdquoppRepublicans have balked at tax rate increases which they say would hurt small businesses and brake economic growthppWith three weeks left to avert the fiscal crunch Boehner yesterday said the administration had adopted a &ldquomy way or the highway&rdquo approach and was engaging in reckless talk about going over the &ldquofiscal cliff&rdquoppBut Obama said his re-election last month and Democratic gains in both houses of Congress showed decisive support for his approach &ldquoAfter all this was a central question in the election&rdquo he said &ldquoA clear majority of Americans &mdash Democrats Republicans and Independents &mdash agreed with a balanced approach that asks something from everyone but a little more from those who can&rdquoppBoehner and the House leadership submitted their terms for a deal to the White House on Monday after Obama offered his opening proposal last weekppThe plans from both sides would cut deficits by more than 4 trillion over the next 10 years but differ on how to get there Republicans want more drastic spending cuts in &ldquoentitlement programmes&rdquo like the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly while Obama wants to raise more revenue with tax increases and to boost some spending to spur the sluggish economyp

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