U.S. President Barack Obama will unveil plans Friday to move the economy forward, in negotiations with Congress that are designed to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax hikes in January.
In his first policy speech since being re-elected, Mr. Obama is expected to urge Congress to agree on a plan that resolves the political stalemate called the “fiscal cliff.” The U.S. faces $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts unless the two major parties can reach an agreement.
Many experts fear the cuts and tax hikes could send the economy back into recession.
Mr. Obama has voiced support for tax increases for American households making more than $250,000 a year. Many Republicans fiercely oppose any tax increase.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, told reporters Friday that raising tax rates will slow down the ability to create the jobs that everyone wants. He said the economy was the top priority for voters in the election.
Boehner said 2013 should be the year the government begins to solve its financial problems, especially debt and tax issues and spending for government pensions and health care for the elderly.
“Now 2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt through tax reform and entitlement reform. And I'm proposing that we avert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures that 2013 is finally the year that our government comes to grips with the major problems that are facing it.”
Boehner has said he is open to some form of raising new government revenues, as long as they include changes to the pension and health care programs.
The law mandating the cuts in 2013 was intended to force lawmakers to compromise on ways to cut spending and raise revenue in order to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Mr. Obama's speech Friday comes three days after he won his bid for another four-year term in the White House.