President Obama, chastened by Democratic losses in the midterm elections, said Wednesday he would work with Republican leaders in Congress on the Bush tax cuts and other issues after a shellacking in the midterm elections.
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Obama acknowledged at a press conference that it feels bad to lose in the elections, but he compared his position to the similar experiences of two other great communicators, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who endured similar losses two years into their first terms in office because of economic woes.
This is something that I think every president needs to go through, he said. Now, Im not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. Im sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons, but I do think this is a growth process and an evolution. And the relationship that Ive had with the American people is one that built slowly, peaked at this incredible high, and then during the course of the last two years, as weve together gone through some very difficult times, has gotten rockier and tougher. And its going to, Im sure, have some more ups and downs during the course of me being in this office.
Obama said he would work with Republican leaders during the lame duck session on the expiring Bush tax cuts, as well as other issues such as extending the research tax credit and unemployment assistance.
Now, the single most important thing I think we need to do economically and this is something that has to be done during the lame duck session is making sure that taxes dont go up on middle-class families next year. And so weve got some work to do on that front to make sure that families not only arent seeing a higher tax burden which will automatically happen if Congress doesnt act but also making sure that business provisions that historically we have extended each year that, for example, provide tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States in research and development, that those are extended. I think it makes sense for us to extend unemployment insurance because there are still a lot of folks out there hurting.
In response to Republican leaders who pledged to repeal the health care reform bill after the election, Obama acknowledged that he was open to changing the expanded 1099 reporting provisions.
Now, if the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our health care system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster and more effective reform to a health care system that has been wildly expensive for too many families and businesses and certainly for our federal government, Im happy to consider some of those ideas, he said. You know, for example, I know one of the things thats come up is that the 1099 provision in the health care bill appears to be too burdensome for small businesses. It just involves too much paperwork, too much filing. Its probably counterproductive. It was designed to make sure that revenue was raised to help pay for some of the other provisions, but if it ends up just being so much trouble that small businesses find it difficult to manage. That's something that we should take a look at.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who will become Speaker of the House in January, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said Wednesday they would work to repeal the health care reform law.
I believe that the health care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health care system in the world, and bankrupt our country, Boehner said, according to Reuters. That means we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with commonsense reforms to bring down the cost of health care.
If that is not possible or if it is possible and [President Obama] vetoes it, were going to go after it piece by piece, said McConnell. There are numerous parts of this controversial and unpopular law that have developed a high level of political toxicity.