Tackling the fiscal cliff - KCTV5

Tackling the fiscal cliff

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The fiscal cliff is headed our way if the two parties in Washington can't come together, but there are strides being taken to avoid the looming Jan. 1 deadline.

President Barack Obama held his first news conference Wednesday since winning his second term in office. The president is calling on Congress to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans and let them expire for those making more than $250,000.

"What I am not going to do is extend further a tax cut for folks who don't need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars," Obama said.

However, Republicans said raising taxes is not the answer.

"I don't believe raising taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars right now will create new jobs in Kansas. The president or any of those advocates for raising those taxes have yet to really, I think, make the case how spending more money from Kansas City to Washington, DC, will be able to create more jobs at home," Kansas Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder said in a phone interview during KCTV5 It's Your Morning.

Another local leader in Washington said he's willing to compromise, though not on all points.

"I'm not willing to create any reduction in benefits to Social Security recipients. I think we can do some things like Reagan and Tip O' Neill did in 1984 which would be maybe to raise the age of recipients 10 to 15 years from now," Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said.

The president plans to meet with labor and business leaders Wednesday, looking for support for $1.6 trillion in new revenue.

Friday he is set to meet with congressional leaders at the White House about the fiscal cliff, which is a combination of tax increases and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts that are set to go into effect Jan. 1 if a deal is not reached.

If a compromise is not reached, the fear is that it would mean automatic spending cuts, higher taxes for all Americans and a return to another recession.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, middle-income families would pay an average of $2,000 more next year.

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