House Speaker John Boehner's comments on taxes had to be welcome news to the White House, but officials there initially had nothing to say.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration continued its public push to lobby Congress to lower taxes on the middle class.
Vice President Joe Biden had lunch at Metro 29 diner in Arlington with half-dozen, hand-picked Americans whose income taxes would rise if a deal is not reached by the end of the year to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. A few dozen people gathered around the vice president to hear him speak.
"This is no time to add any additional burden for middle class people," Biden said. He said it would take "15 minutes" for a bill to get done if Boehner agreed to let taxes on the wealthy go up. He said while they prefer having rates go up to Clinton-era levels they are willing to "negotiate" with Republicans.
It could be done "like that" he said snapping his fingers.
Biden said Republicans shouldn't "hold hostage the relief for the middle class."
Asked about Boehner's comments that the president was slow-walking the country to the cliff, Biden said he'll leave that answer to the American people. He said they already agree taxes on the wealthy
should go up.
Attendees include a naturalized citizen from Colombia whose wife recently lost her job, a small business owner whose children have developmental disabilities and a college senior.
Anne Marie Munos of Falls Church, Va., who cares for three seniors, was selected for the lunch after she responded on the White House Website to discuss why she thinks taxes should be extended for the
“I can't see how we can afford to pay more taxes,'' she wrote. "We certainly won't be able to boost the economy because our buying power will suffer even more than it already has.”
Obama is trying to pressure Congress through a public relations blitz while leaving his aides to work out a compromise on the so-called fiscal cliff. Since beginning the #My2K campaign a week ago, more than 100,000 stories have been shared on WhiteHouse.gov and 250,000 tweeted
with the hashtag #My2k.