By Ashley Killough, CNN
(CNN) — A top adviser for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign said Sunday the president was entirely dedicated to ending the so-called Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at the end of this year.
“He is 100% committed to it,” Robert Gibbs said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Obama signed a bill in 2010 to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, citing the need for economic stimulus at the time, but has since vowed he would not permit another extension.
The tax breaks are set to expire in what’s known as the “fiscal cliff,” a package of spending cuts and removal of tax breaks that will take place on January 1 if Congress fails to act. In total, $7 trillion could be taken out from the economy.
Tax breaks that would end include the Bush tax cuts, middle class protection from the Alternative Minimum Tax, and more than 50 “temporary” tax breaks for individuals and businesses that have been on the books for years.
For its part, the White House has proposed raising taxes on the very wealthy as a way to help make a dent in the federal deficit.
“Let’s make some progress on our spending by doing away with tax cuts for people that quite frankly don’t need them, tax cuts that haven’t worked and have them pay their fair share,” Gibbs told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
The so-called “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, would impose a minimum 30% tax rate on those making more than $1 million. The measure, however, was blocked in the Democratic-controlled Senate in April.
On the campaign trail, the president continues to call for a tax increase on the wealthy, arguing they need to pay their “fair share.”
“We have got to make sure that those of us who can afford to do a little bit more – because we have been so blessed by this country – that the wealthiest among us can pay a little bit more to help close this deficit,” Obama said at a campaign stop in Poland, Ohio, on Friday.
Republicans, on the other hand, say the solution to the country’s deficit problems should center on spending cuts and further tax breaks.
Asked on Sunday about the looming fiscal cliff, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be a mistake for Obama to override the bill.
“The president shouldn’t veto that,” he said on the same CNN program. “This is the same president who signed the very same thing two years ago with the argument to do otherwise would make the economy worse.”
— CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.