(Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama said Tuesday the latest Republican "fiscal cliff" plan is "still out of balance" because it does not include higher tax rates on the wealthy.
"We have the potential of getting a deal done," Obama said during an interview with Bloomberg Television, but it must be a "balanced" debt reduction plan that includes both budget cuts and higher tax rates on Americans who make more than $250,000.
The president said he does not expect to get "100%" of what he wants in any agreement, but noted he ran for re-election -- and won -- on a pledge to eliminate the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for high-end earners.
Seeking to build political support for his plan, Obama met at the White House on Tuesday with a delegation of six governors, three from each party.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republicans say raising tax rates would kill jobs and slow the economy. They have put up a plan that relies on closing tax loopholes and ending certain deductions instead, saying that will bring in $800 billion in higher tax revenues.
The GOP's 10-year, $2.2 trillion debt reduction plan also calls for raising the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits.
The parties are seeking to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," a series of tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in automatically if the White House and Congress are unable to reach a budget agreement.
"If the President really wants to avoid sending the economy over the fiscal cliff, he has done nothing to demonstrate it," Boehner said. "Instead, he has offered a plan that could not pass either house of Congress -- not the House of Representatives and not the Democratic-controlled Senate."
Both Republicans and Democrats say falling off the fiscal cliff would plunge the nation back into recession.
"America is poised to take off," Obama told Bloomberg. "The question is, let's make sure that we don't have a self-inflicted wound."