WASHINGTON — President Obama said Saturday that Republicans in the House are blocking a bill that would prevent a tax increase on the first $250,000 of income earned by all Americans.
The Democratic-controlled Senate has approved the measure, but Obama said House Republicans have ‘‘put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans.’’ Obama supports a plan to raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said ‘‘the math just doesn’t work’’ on the GOP plan.
Obama’s comments mark the fourth time since his re-election that he has used the radio address to push for middle-class tax cuts as part of a plan to avert a looming fiscal cliff — and his most sharply partisan tone.
Obama said his plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans should come as no surprise to Republicans or anyone else.
‘‘After all, this was a central question in the election. A clear majority of Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — agreed with a balanced approach that asks something from everyone, but a little more from those who can most afford it,’’ Obama said.
His plan is ‘‘the only way to put our economy on a sustainable path without asking even more from the middle class,’’ Obama said. It also is the only plan he is willing to sign, the president said.
Obama’s comments came as House Speaker John Boehner said Friday there has been no progress in negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff, a combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January.
Boehner said the White House has wasted another week and has failed to respond to a GOP offer to raise tax revenues and cut spending. Obama and Boehner spoke privately by phone on Wednesday. Boehner described the conversation as pleasant, ‘‘but just more of the same.’’
Obama said in his address that he stands ready to work with Republicans on a plan that spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and reduces the national deficit.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in the Republican response Saturday that tax increases will not solve the nation’s $16 trillion debt. Only economic growth and reform of entitlement programs will help control the debt, Rubio said. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Outgoing Brown cites small role in fiscal cliff resolution
Senator Scott Brown said Saturday he is just “one vote out of 100” and it is up to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and top congressional leaders to propose solutions for avoiding the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.
The Massachusetts Republican, who lost a bid for reelection last month, has avoided publicly stating where he stands on possible tax increases or spending cuts that would stave off automatic changes in revenues and expenditures set to take effect Jan. 1.
Brown is set to leave office a day later.
Asked what solutions might appeal to both Republicans and Democrats, Brown demurred.
“Well, it’s really up to the leadership to make that determination. They’re the ones who are posturing and coming forth with the solutions right now,” the senator said. “I’m one vote out of 100, and I look forward to being able to cast that vote to try to solve the problem.” - GLEN JOHNSON
Ex-Republican Crist now Democratic Party member
TALLAHASSEE — Former governor Charlie Crist, who was elected the state’s chief executive as a Republican and then ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate as an independent, announced on Twitter that he is switching to the Democratic Party.
The announcement Friday night fanned speculation that Crist would seek to regain his old job from Republican Governor Rick Scott in 2014.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Crist signed the papers changing his affiliation from independent to Democrat at a Christmas reception at the White House.
He cited the Republican Party’s shift to the right on a range of issues, including immigration, education, and the environment.
The 56-year-old Crist spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., that nominated Obama for a second term and campaigned for his reelection. - ASSOCIATED PRESS