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Obama Appeals to Business Leaders in Interview

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Reid echoed Obama’s talking points on the fiscal cliff Tuesday afternoon after the president’s interview with Bloomberg Television.

“What I’m not going to do is to agree to a plan in which we have some revenue that is vague and potentially comes out of the pockets of middle-class families in exchange for some very specific and tough entitlement cuts that would affect seniors or other folks who are vulnerable,” he said. “That’s not the kind of balanced plan that I think would be good for growth, good for the economy, or good for the American people.”

Obama insisted that the top rate needs to be allowed to increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, while suggesting that rates could eventually be lower once there’s an overhaul of the tax code.

For their part, GOP lawmakers continued to criticize the plan floated last week by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in meetings at the Capitol with Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“The president has to lead. The president has to come up with a plan that is actually possible. You can come up with all the things you want to that you know for sure that can’t happen in the House of Representatives, and that’s not negotiating at all,” said Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri.

Republicans have opposed the idea of effectively granting the executive branch a process to increase the debt limit without congressional authorization, as envisioned in the Geithner proposal.

In what seems sure to become a GOP talking point, McConnell criticized that provision as a “permanent authority really for the president to borrow money from the Chinese in perpetuity to fund out outrageous deficits and debt.”

Obama, however, warned in the Bloomberg interview against hurting the economy by an effort to “manufacture another debt ceiling crisis.”

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