Obama Increases Pressure on GOP for Fiscal Cliff Deal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 30 2012 12:16 PM

Obama: Blame Republicans if There's No Fiscal Cliff Deal

158753756
President Obama said Democrats have been more willing to compromise than Republicans

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Just in case lawmakers were not feeling enough pressure to come up with a fiscal cliff deal this weekend, President Obama made it clear the ball was in their court during a taped Meet the Press appearance that was broadcast Sunday morning. In his second appearance on the NBC show since becoming president, Obama made it clear Americans would have one group of people to blame if they see taxes go up and unemployment benefits disappear in 2013: Republicans.

"They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected," Obama said. "That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme." (Watch video of the interview after the jump.)

Advertisement

In a sign that Republicans may be coming to accept they’ll have to eventually come around, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted Obama would get a “political victory” out of the fiscal cliff, points out Politico. “Hats off to the president,” Graham said on Fox News. “He stood his ground. He’s going to get tax rate increases.”

The message Obama was trying to send in the interview was clear: I’m the reasonable negotiator, willing to compromise, points out the Wall Street Journal. Even though Obama had said on Friday he was “modestly optimistic” that a deal would be reached, “we don’t yet see an agreement,” he told NBC’s David Gregory. Obama said he still holds out hope that “over the next 48 hours … people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle-class families do not go up. That would hurt our economy badly.” The president emphasized that failing to reach a deal before the new year would “obviously … have an adverse reaction in the markets.”

President Obama emphasized that if lawmakers fail to come to an agreement, Democrats would put forward a bill to protect “middle-class families” from the tax increase. “Republicans will have to decide if they’re going to block it, which will mean that middle class taxes do go up,” Obama said. “I don’t think they would want to do that politically, but they may end up doing it.” If that doesn’t pass then Democrats will introduce a bill on the first day of the new congress “to cut taxes on middle-class families.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?