President Barack Obama, who has disagreed with Republican Congress members on whether to extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans beyond this year, said Tuesday that he will work with U.S. senators on finding some sort of tax-policy agreement by the end of the year, Reuters reported.
Obama met with incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for about two hours Tuesday to discuss a possible accord.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Budget Director Jack Lew will work with Congress members on both sides of the aisle to reach an accord that would prevent widespread tax increases for 2011, the wire service said.
The Bush-era tax cuts have been a point of contention between Obama, who is looking to increase the tax rate on capital gains while supporting tax breaks for the middle-class and small businesses, and Republicans, who say ending the tax breaks would hamper the country's economic recovery. When asked at a September hearing about extending the cuts, Geithner was noncommittal.
Democrats have estimated that extending the tax cuts would cost $700 million and said it would work against the Obama administration's efforts to reduce the U.S. deficit. Republicans have argued that extending the tax cuts would boost investment and help create jobs, according to Reuters.