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-- nobody -- -- Well good afternoon everybody.
Of the White House.
That the last thing.
Wanna hear on new years the another speech for me.
But I don't need to talk about the progress that's being made.
In congress today.
For the last few days leaders in both parties have been working toward an agreement.
That will prevent a middle class tax like from hitting 98%.
Of all Americans.
Preventing that -- like it has been my top priority.
Because the last thing.
Folks like the folks up here on this stage can afford right now is to pay an extra 2000 dollars in taxes next year.
Middle class families can't afford it.
Businesses can't afford it.
Our economy can't afford.
Now today it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike.
Is within -- But it's not done.
There are still issues left to resolve.
But we're hopeful that congress can get it done.
But it's not -- and so.
Part of the reason that I want to speak to all of you today.
Is to make sure that we emphasize to congress -- that.
Of both parties understand that all across America this is a pressing concern.
On people's minds.
The potential agreement that's being talked about would not only make sure that taxes don't grow up on middle class families.
It also would extend tax credits for families with children.
It would extend our tuition tax credit that's helped millions of families pay for college.
It would extend tax credits for clean energy companies that are creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
It would extend unemployment insurance to two million Americans.
Who are out there are still actively looking for job.
I have to say that.
Ever since I took office throughout the campaign.
And over the last couple months my preference would have been to solve all these problems in the context of a larger agreement.
A bigger deal a grand bargain whatever you want to call it.
That solves our deficit problems in a balanced and responsible way that doesn't just deal with the taxes -- -- spending in a balanced way.
So that we can put all this behind us and his focus -- gone.
Growing our economy.
But -- this congress that was obviously a little too much to hope for at this time.
It may be we've.
Can do what.
We're gonna solve this problem instead in several steps.
Last year in 2011 we started reducing the deficit through one trillion dollars in spending cuts those have already taken place.
The agreement being worked on right now we're further reduce the deficit by asking the wealthiest.
2% of Americans to pay higher taxes for the first time in two decades.
So that would add.
Additional hundreds of billions dollars to deficit reduction.
So that's progress.
Well we're gonna need do more.
You know keep in mind -- just last month Republicans in congress that they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.
Obviously -- remember it's currently being discussed would raise those rates and rates them permanently.
But but keep in mind.
We're gonna still have more work to do we still have deficits -- be dealt with we're still gonna have to.
Think about how we put.
Our economy on a long term trajectory of growth how we continue to make investments in things like education.
Things like infrastructure.
That help our economy grow.
And keep in mind that.
The threat of tax hikes going up is only one part of the so called fiscal cliff that are -- been talking about.
What we also have facing -- starting tomorrow.
Are automatic spending cuts.
That are scheduled to going to affect.
And keep in mind that -- spending cuts.
Has said -- automatically going to affect.
Have an impact on our Defense Department.
But they also have an impact on things like -- start.
And so there some programs that are scheduled to be cut that.
An -- instead of a -- May not always be the smartest cuts.
And so bat is a piece of business that still has to be taken care.
And I want to make clear.
That any agreement we have to deal.
With these automatic spending cuts that are being threatened for next month.
Those also have to be balance -- are my principles always been.
Let's do things -- a balanced responsible way and that means the revenues have to be part of the equation and in turning off the sequester in eliminate -- -- automatic spending cuts.
As well spending cuts.
Now the same is true for any future deficit agreement.
We're gonna have to do more reduce our debt and our deficit I'm willing to do more but it's gonna have to be.
Balance we're gonna have to do -- a balanced responsible went for example.
I'm willing to reduce our government's Medicare bills.
By finding new ways to reduce the cost of health care in this country.
That's something that we all should agree on.
You know we want to make sure that Medicare is there for future generations.
But the current trajectory of helped -- cross is going up so -- -- We've got to find ways to.
Make sure that it's sustainable.
But that kind of reform has to go hand in hand way -- doing some more work to reform our tax code so that.
Wealthy individuals the biggest corporations can't take advantage of loopholes and deductions.
That aren't available to most of the folks standing up here -- are available to most Americans.
So there's still more work to be done.
In the tax code to make it -- even as were also looking at how we can strengthen something like Medicare.
Now if Republicans think that.
I will finish the job -- deficit reduction through spending cuts law and you hear that sometimes come from.
That sort after today we're just gonna try to.
-- Only spending cuts down.
Well -- spending.
-- spending cuts that us.
There will hurt seniors.
Or hurt students.
Or hurt middle class families.
Millionaires -- Companies would -- -- etc.
if they think that's going to be the formula for how we solve this thing and they've got another -- cup.
That's not how it's gonna work.
We've got to do this -- balanced and responsible way and if we're gonna be serious about -- -- reduction in debt reduction.
It's gonna have to be a matter shared sacrifice.
At least as long as -- president.
And I'm gonna be present for the next four years -- Now for now our most immediate priority is to stop.
Taxes going up the middle class families.
I think that is a modest.
Goal that we can accomplish.
Democrats and Republicans in congress have to get this done.
But they're not there yet.
They are close but they're not there yet and one thing we can count on with respect to this congress is that.
If there's even 12 left before you have to do where you're supposed to do.
They will use that last second.
So as this point it looks like government -- -- here in DC.
So -- you all are going to be hanging out in DC to.
I can cover your costs.
I don't wanna -- part.
Who are with me here today the people who -- watching at home.
They need are leaders in congress to succeed.
They need us they need us all stay focused.
Not -- politics.
A special interests -- be focused on families.
-- -- You know folks that -- out there working really really hard.
And are just looking for a fair shot.
And some reward for that artwork.
They expect our leaders to succeed on their behalf.
-- why and so keep the pressure on over the next twelve hours or so let's see if we get this thing done.
And I thank you all if I don't see if I don't -- up -- your house.
A lot of wish everybody -- happy -- thank you very much.
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