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July 27, 2012

Obama to House: 'Do the right thing'

President Barack Obama urged the GOP-controlled House to pass the Democratic tax cut bill. (UPI/Molly Riley/Pool)

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday attempted to pressure the House to accept the Democratic tax cut bill narrowly approved in the Senate.

Before the start of a Cabinet meeting, Obama urged the Republican-controlled House to "do the right thing" and approve the Democratic bill approved 51-48 Wednesday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., decided to drop plans for a filibuster.

The bill preserves the Bush-era tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income.

"Now, the only thing that is going to prevent the vast majority of Americans from not seeing a tax increase next year is if the House doesn't act," Obama said in brief remarks, despite a constitutional stipulation that all tax legislation must originate in the House.

"And so, one of the things that I'm going to be doing, my Cabinet members are going to be doing over the next several days is make sure the American people understand that we can provide them certainty now for next year that their taxes will not go up and they will be able to plan accordingly. Small businesses will be able to plan accordingly."

House Speaker John Boehner scheduled a vote on the measure for next week. It will come up alongside a measure extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts.

"If our Democrat colleagues want to offer the president's plan or the Senate Democrat plan, we're more than happy to give them the vote," Boehner told his weekly press conference.

The Washington Post noted the Senate bill applies the tax cut to the first $250,000 in income for all taxpayers, meaning those earning upwards of $1 million would see their taxes reduced by a minimum $15,000 -- $17,000 if another patch for the alternative minimum tax is adopted and 2009 estate tax rates are extended -- while Republicans want to give the nation's wealthiest taxpayers a $75,000 tax cut.

Obama sidestepped a question on whether new laws need to be enacted to prevent a repeat of Friday's Colorado movie house shooting in which 12 people died and 58 were injured.

"I'm sure we'll have more of an opportunity to talk about this," Obama said then joked he would ask his press secretary for the reporter's number to continue the discussion.

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