(CBS News) Tossing aside friendlier language from weeks past, President Obama for the second time used his weekly address to urge House Republicans to vote the "right way" on a bill to extend middle class tax cuts.
Whether the "typical family" will be hit with $2,200 in tax hikes next year now rests in the Republican-controlled House, the president said, lauding the Senate's passage this week of his plan to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for American families making less than $250,000 a year. "If 218 Members of the House vote the right way, 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small business owners will have the certainty of knowing that that their income taxes will not go up next year," he said.
While his message was not unfamiliar (he deliveredtwo weeks ago), Mr. Obama's language was noticeably more aggressive. Whereas his prior plea recognized House Republicans and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney as having "different" economic ideas from his own, this week he said their "top-down" approach is flat-out "wrong," holding up the contrasting plans as props.
But while the president chided Congress for "holding these tax cuts hostage," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, charged Mr. Obama in the Republicans' weekly address with "holding America's economy hostage."
Hatch made the case most conservatives support, agreeing with Mr. Obama that middle-class tax cuts should be extended but arguing for the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts, including for the wealthiest Americans. "Unfortunately, Washington Democrats' default position appears to be to let everyone's taxes skyrocket, if Congress doesn't agree to their plan to raise taxes on one of the most productive segments of our economy," he said.
"This isn't the time for political games and vilifying job creators," Hatch continued. "The president and his Washington allies need to stop holding America's economy hostage in order to raise taxes on those trying to lead our economic recovery. Let's roll up our sleeves to ensure that America remains the leader we know it to be."