Nutter echoes Obama’s call: Preserve middle-class tax cuts

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter speaks to the media outside of the White House, after Vice President Biden met with mayors from cities across the country to talk about taxes and the economy, in Washington on Thursday.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter speaks to the media outside of the White House, after Vice President Biden met with mayors from cities across the country to talk about taxes and the economy, in Washington on Thursday. (JACQUELYN MARTIN / Associated Press)
Posted: November 16, 2012

WASHINGTON - Mayor Nutter, standing outside the White House Thursday evening, delivered a message that echoed the one coming from his ally inside: Ensure middle-class tax cuts stay in place, before the country heads over the fiscal cliff.

"Taxpayers making less than $250,000 should not see their taxes go up," Nutter said after he and 13 other mayors met with Vice President Biden. "If you have one thing that everyone agrees on, there's no reason not to do that one thing now."

Nutter's comments as he stood outside the West Wing highlighted his ongoing role as one of Obama's most visible allies, having served as one of the president's top surrogates during the election. He also heads the U.S. Conference of Mayors. On Thursday he carried Obama's message on the most critical policy debate of the moment.

Obama has made the same argument on taxes in the days since his Nov. 6 reelection as he and Republicans stake out bargaining positions in a broad debate on taxes and spending.

Both parties agree that tax cuts that are about to expire for those earning less than $250,000 should be extended - which would spare 98 percent of taxpayers from a looming rate hike Jan. 1.

The biggest debate hinges on how to tax people who make more than that, but with Republicans calling for spending cuts as well to reduce the national deficit, the tax rates are part of a much broader negotiation.

Obama is set to meet Friday with House and Senate leaders.

Agreeing to extend the cuts, as Obama and now Nutter have pushed for, would eliminate Republican leverage.

By calling for keeping the tax breaks in place for most Americans now, though, and dealing with the rest of the fiscal cliff later, Democrats are piling pressure on the GOP, painting them as the guilty party if rates go up for most on Jan. 1.

"I think the American public is going to demand action" now that the election is over, Nutter told reporters. "When people know that there is one vote and one action that can benefit 98 percent of the American public, I think most Americans are going to wonder, 'Why don't they take that action now?' "

He added, "Where I come from, at least, if everyone agrees on something, there's no reason not to do it."

In Washington, though, it's rarely that simple.


Contact Jonathan Tamari at jtamari@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @JonathanTamari. Read his blog 'Capitol Inq' at www.philly.com/CapitolInq.

 

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