President to appeal to public on fiscal cliff


He plans to travel to the Philadelphia suburbs Friday as he pressures Republicans to allow tax increases on the wealthy while extending tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or less.

The White House said Tuesday that the president will hold a series of events to build support for his approach. He will meet with 15 small business owners at the White House on Tuesday and with middle-class families on Wednesday. Then the president will visit a small business in Hatfield, Pa., that makes parts for a construction toy company.

"Hearing from (voters), hearing their voices and hearing their priorities is essential to helping compel this process forward," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Negotiations are under way to try and beat the end-of-the-year deadline. If Congress doesn't act, $650 billion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically go into effect on Jan. 1, but an agreement still appears far from assured.

Some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, have said they are willing to break a pledge they made to never vote for higher taxes, but that is not sitting well with anti-tax advocates.

"I've had long conversations with Lindsey Graham. He says, 'I would raise taxes if.' And then he lists this incredible list of reforms and entitlements that the Democrats would never give him. And I suggested to him, 'Senator, you're offering to trade a tax increase for a pink unicorn that doesn't exist,'" said Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform.

Congressional Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner, have pushed for raising additional revenue through the reducing of tax loopholes instead of raising tax rates on wealthy Americans.

The White House has countered that the president will not sign legislation that extends current tax rates for the top 2 percent of income earners, or those households with incomes over $250,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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