President pushes Congress on Buffett rule

President Barack Obama delivers his weekly address, March 31, 2012. whitehouse.gov

Updated 11:54 a.m. ET

(CBS News) In his weekly address, President Obama called on Congress to pass the "Buffett rule" tax plan and challenged lawmakers who don't support it to "explain" how they would pay for lower tax revenue.

Mr. Obama talked about the tax plan, which raises taxes on people making more than $1 million per year, as Americans file their taxes before the April 15 deadline. The plan got its name from billionaire Warren Buffett who has been an outspoken proponent of raising taxes on the wealthy and who said he has been favored with a lower tax rate than his secretary.

"Every Member of Congress is going to go on record," the president said, referring to the Senate vote scheduled for April 16. "And if they vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me - tax breaks our country can't afford - then they're going to have to explain to you where that money comes from."

The Republican-led house is unlikely to take up the measure.

You can watch the president's address by clicking on the video player above.

The president previously pushed the issue to the forefront of his agenda during his State of the Union address, where Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek, attended the address as a guest of the president.

In today's address, the president said it's "not fair" that the wealthy enjoy deductions and a low capital gains tax rate that can result in paying a lower tax rate than the middle class.

"Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates - people who don't need them and never asked for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure?" Mr. Obama said.

"Because we can't afford to do both."

Republican opponents have called the Democrats' rhetoric "class warfare" intent on punishing success. The president disputes that claim, and said the deficit reduction should include the wealthy paying "their fare share."

"That means we have to make choices," Mr. Obama said. "When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point? Or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?"

In the Republican weekly address, House Speaker John Boehner focused on energy where he charged the Democratic-led Senate and the president to address high gas prices.

"About the only thing the president has pushed the senate to do is to prevent the construction of the Keystone pipeline," Boehner said.  

Watch Speaker Boehner's address in the video below.


  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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