Obama: Meeting 'Productive' with GOP on Tax Cuts

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President Barack Obama said he reached a "broad" agreement with Republicans, Tuesday, on extending the Bush tax cuts and working toward bipartisanship on the budget and national security.

With just a month to go, lawmakers have yet to agree on taxes for the upcoming year, prompting a lengthy meeting at the White House over how to move forward. This was the first meeting with the president since Republicans made sweeping wins in the midterm elections.

After the meeting, Obama stressed that a deal had not been made and disagreements remained but, the talks were still "productive."

"Having said that, we agreed that there must be some sensible common ground," Obama said.

"Today we had the beginning of a new dialogue that I hope, and I'm sure most Americans hope, will help break through the noise and produce real gains," he added.

CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody gave insight on the policies lawmakers are facing before next year, and how the new Congress will impact decisions.  Click play for his comments, following John Jessup's updated report.

Also, Lew Uhler, co-author of 'Red State Uprising - How to Take Back America' talked more about government and its role in stimulating the economy. Click here for that interview.

Congressional Republicans were happy with the overall positive tone of the meeting.

"It's not usual to find ourselves in the position we'll be in in the 112th Congress," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.  "It's also important to remember some of these periods have been quite productive."

McConnell said both parties agreed to designate representatives to negotiate a compromise on the Bush tax cuts set to expire next month.

Still, defining the peoples' agenda is where the process could crumble.

"We're going to focus on creating jobs, cutting spending and reforming the way Congress does its business," said Rep. John Boehner, who will become Speaker of the House in January.

"Spending more time [discussing] will help us find common ground," he added after the meeting.

When the GOP take control of the House, they want the first order of business to be extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels.

Democrats want to limit the cuts to those making less than $250,000.

If Congress can't agree before the lame-duck session ends, it will mean an increase in taxes for every American worker.

Other important matters include:

  • The ratification of a nuclear treaty with Russia.
  • The extension of long-term unemployment benefits.
  • The curbing the growth of the federal bureaucracy and government spending.

Those are a few of the things increasingly weighing on the minds of Americans, according to recent surveys.

A new CNBC-Associate Press poll shows nearly 2-in-1 favor cutting government services over raising taxes to ease the growing debt.

In a bid to show a willingness to cooperate, Obama announced on Monday a two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal workers. It was a move Republicans welcomed.

"My hope is that, starting today, we can begin a bipartisan conversation about our future, because we face challenges that will require the cooperation of Democrats, Republicans and

Independents," Obama said. "Everybody is going to have to cooperate."

One thing significant about Tuesday's meeting is that it marks the beginning of a new era for the Obama administration.

Many see it as a key event -- serving as an indication of how the White House and a divided Congress will interact over the next two years.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.