Obama Restates Pledge Not To Increase Taxes on Middle Class
President Obama on Monday restated his campaign promise not to raise taxes for families with annual incomes below $250,000, refuting statements by administration officials that such a tax was a possibility, the New York Times reports.
Obama reiterated the promise to his economic team during a White House meeting, and press secretary Robert Gibbs delivered the statement to reporters.
Obama has said health reform legislation will rein in some government spending, but his advisers, speaking on Sunday talk shows, said more needs to be done to control the deficit (Baker, New York Times, 8/4).
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the country would have to make "hard choices" to control the deficit, and Obama's top economic policy adviser Lawrence Summers said that health reform will be costly and "it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out" (Trumbull, Christian Science Monitor, 8/3).
However, Gibbs on Monday said, "The president's clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year" (Silva, Los Angeles Times, 8/4). He added, "And I don't think any economist would believe that in the environment that we're in raising taxes on middle-class families would make any sense. And the president agrees" (Johnston /Anderson Brower, Bloomberg, 8/4).
In an effort to find ways to fund their proposed health care overhaul, House Democrats have proposed a surtax on the wealthiest U.S. households, although some critics have said the tax increase should be spread around so that "a broader cross section of Americans would be invested in the new health care system, as they are in Social Security and Medicare," the Times reports (New York Times, 8/4).
Senate Democrats also have said that taxes might have to be raised for those below the $250,000 threshold because the House tax plan "appears to be a non-starter in the Senate," the The Hill reports (Bolton/Youngman, The Hill, 8/3).
NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams" on Monday reported on Obama restating his pledge on taxes (Williams, "Nightly News with Brian Williams," NBC, 8/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.