Obama: No fiscal cliff deal without higher rates - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Obama: No fiscal cliff deal without higher rates

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WASHINGTON -

President Barack Obama says there will be no deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" unless Republicans drop their opposition to raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

However, Obama is signaling flexibility on where the rates eventually wind up. Obama says he knows he won't get everything that he wants in negotiations with congressional Republicans. He made the comments Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News.

The president campaigned for re-election on a plan to raise the rates on the top 2 percent of income earners to 39.6 percent, which is where they were under former President Bill Clinton. Obama administration officials have indicated they would be open to keeping the rate lower if the same amount of revenue can be achieved through closing tax loopholes and other measures.

Governors ask for flexibility in fiscal cliff deal

A bipartisan group of governors says they sought assurances from President Barack Obama that any cuts in spending to address the looming "fiscal cliff" would not shift the financial burden onto states. They say they want flexibility from the federal government on mandated programs to allow them to do more with less.

The governors -- three Republicans and three Democrats -- met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to urge that the White House and Congress negotiate a deal that avoids automatic across-the-board tax hikes and drastic spending cuts.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat and chairman of the National Governors Association, said the governors didn't endorse either the president's proposal to raise taxes on wealthier Americans or Republican proposals to raise revenue by closing tax loopholes and deductions.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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