Obama Says He's 'Comfortable' With Including Proposed 5.6% Surtax On Millionaires In Jobs Plan (VIDEO)
At a news conference on Thursday, President Barack Obama said he's "comfortable" with Senate Democrats including a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires in an amended version of his administration's plan to boost job creation.
"The approach that the Senate is taking I'm comfortable with," he said. "In order to deal with the jobs bill, we're still going to have to reform the tax code to make sure that we're closing loopholes."
The Democratic proposal would pay for Obama's plan by imposing a surtax on taxpayers making more than $1 million. That plan would set a top rate of 40 percent on income above $1 million; the current top rate is 35 percent.
Obama initially had proposed a series of different tax increases to pay for his proposal.
At the morning news conference, Obama said his $447 billion jobs bill would help the economy grow by 2 percent and create 1.9 million jobs. The president took an aggressive tone against Republicans, challenging them to explain what aspects of his package they oppose.
Obama said demonstrators protesting against Wall Street and economic inequality are expressing the frustrations of the American public. He explained that he understands the public's concerns about how the nation's financial system works and said Americans see Wall Street as an example of the financial industry not always following the rules.
However, the president asserted that the U.S. must have a strong and effective financial sector for the economy to grow. He argued that the financial regulation bill he championed is designed to make sure there is tougher oversight of the financial industry.
The Occupy Wall Street protests started Sept. 17 in New York. Related demonstrations have popped up around the country.
On Thursday, Obama regarded his plan to create jobs and rebuild U.S. highways, bridges and schools was an "insurance policy" against the slowing economy falling back into recession.
"I think it's fair to say that I have gone out of my way in every instance -- sometimes at my own political peril and to the frustration of Democrats -- to work with Republicans to find common ground to move this country forward," he said before adding that the tactic hasn't worked.
"Each time, what we've seen in games-playing, a preference to try to score political points rather than actually get something done on the part of the other side," the president explained.
With the plan expected to come up for debate in the Senate next week, he urged every senator to think "long and hard about what's at stake." Obama said, "Any senator out there who's thinking about voting against this jobs bill when it comes up for a vote needs to explain exactly why they would oppose something we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time."