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President Obama’s Address: Middle Class Tax Cuts — ‘No Time to Wait’

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- With re-election behind him, President Obama says "there's no reason to wait," regarding tax cut extensions for middle class families.  

"You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours," the president says in this week's address, his first since the nation voted him into his second term.

Just as he described in remarks he made Friday, President Obama, tells Americans about his plan to meet next week with leaders from both parties, as well as "business, labor and civic leaders from outside Washington" to discuss ways to get around the challenges the country is facing.

"At a time with our economy is still recovering from the Great Recession, our top priority has to be jobs and growth," he says.

At the end of this year, Americans are headed for the so-called "fiscal cliff," when taxpayers could be hit with thousands of dollars in tax increases and nearly a trillion in federal spending cuts, unless Congress acts soon.

While the president says he is willing to work with party leadership and come to some compromise, he makes it clear that the country's economy can't just be fixed through spending cuts. Wealthier Americans would have to pay a little more in taxes to invest in education, job training and manufacturing and build a stronger middle class, the president says.

"If we're serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue," he says, "and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes."

President Obama says he is willing to compromise and hear new ideas, but he refuses to accept any approach that isn't balanced.

"I will not ask students or seniors or middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people making over $250,000 aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes," he says.

Congress should act now to extend tax cuts for "98 percent" (or middle-class families) of Americans before reaching the fiscal cliff at the end of this year, the president says.

"This is something we all agree on. Even as we negotiate a broader deficit reduction package, Congress should extend middle-class tax cuts right now," President Obama says. "It's a step that would drive millions of families and 97 percent of small businesses the peace of mind that will lead to new jobs and faster growth. There's no reason to wait."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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