Economy & Budget

Obama claims ‘pay your fair share’ mandate

Obama claims 'pay your fair share' mandate

A newly energized President Barack Obama told the public in his first address since Tuesday’s election that he was doubling down on his ultimatum to block any fiscal reform proposal that did not raise taxes on top-earning Americans.

With Congress poised to tumble off a fiscal cliff composed of sequester budget cuts and expiring tax breaks on the first of next year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has taken a conciliatory tone, saying House Republicans would work under the president’s leadership to find compromise.

Obama took the ground Boehner yielded — “I was encouraged to hear Speaker Boehner say that tax revenue has to be part of this equation,” he said — and didn’t give an inch in return in Friday’s address.

He made it clear that he saw his “pay your fair share” approach as his reelection mandate.

“This was a central question during the election; it was debated over and over again,” he said.

“On Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agreed with my approach.”

Obama said he has invited leaders from both parties in Congress to the White House next week, but didn’t indicate any points on which he would be willing to yield.

“I’m open to compromise. I’m open to new ideas,” he said. “But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced.”

Meanwhile, in a morning address, Boehner soft-pedaled on his remarks from earlier in the week, emphasizing fiscal reform over raising tax rates.

John Gizzi reports: Re-elected Obama preaches ‘increased revenues’

“On Wednesday, I outlined a responsible path forward to avert the fiscal cliff without raising tax rates,” he said. “About  24 hours after I spoke, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that the most harmful consequences of the fiscal cliff come from increasing tax rates.”

Boehner cited data from an Ernst & Young study released earlier this year showing that raising high-end tax rates as Obama proposes could cost the U.S. nearly 700,000 jobs.

But Boehner didn’t back down from his position that raising revenues should be on the table as a tool of compromise.

“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 problems that are facing us,” he said.

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