President Obama returned to campaign mode on Monday - casting Republicans as against the middle class by saying their failure to accept his offer for a limited extension of tax breaks will essentially ruin Christmas for consumers and retailers.
Obama laid out his case in an open letter that starts by underscoring its timing -- coming on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday, in which consumers take advantage of online bargains.
The president has promised he will immediately sign an extension of the lower Bush-era tax rates, but only for American families bringing in less than $250,000 annually. Republicans want to preserve the lower rates for all Americans, including the 2 percent of households that earn more than $250,000.
Obama starts the two-page letter by appealing to all of Congress to accept his offer, but he notes near the end that "congressional Democrats" already are on board with the deal.
"Stop holding the middle class and our economy hostage over a disagreement on tax cuts," the letter states, as Congress returns to Washington this week to try to reach a deal that would avert the $500 billion mix of tax increases and budget cuts set to take effect in early January.
"The election is over," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday from the chamber floor. "It's time for the president to present a plan that ... goes beyond the talking points of the campaign trail."
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