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President Barack Obama on Saturday used his weekly radio address to the nation to urge support for his minimum tax on millionaires ahead of a vote in the Senate.
"As many Americans rush to file their taxes this weekend, it's worth pointing out that we've got a tax system that doesn't always uphold the principle of everyone doing their part," the president said. The annual deadline for filing taxes is next week.
He said because the nation has "serious" deficits in need of closing and needs to make investments to spur economic growth, "we can't afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans who don't need them and didn't even ask for them."
The president has spent much of the last week calling for members of Congress to support a new minimum 30% tax on millionaires as a way to fund education and other projects. A vote in the Senate is expected Monday and will likely fail, as Republicans have criticized the idea as wealth distribution and not helping reduce the country's deficit.
The president, pointing to polls showing the country supports more taxes for the wealthy, said Republicans need to "get on board with where the country is."
Republicans, meanwhile, have pointed to another poll showing support for the new minimum tax is waning. The tax is called the Buffett Rule after Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA, BRKB) Chairman Warren Buffett, who has said he pays a higher tax rate than his secretary.
The president's push comes during a week when he released his own tax return. The president's 2011 total income was $845,000 and he paid $162,000 in taxes. His effective tax rate was 19%.
The president is in Colombia Saturday for an economic summit.
In the weekly radio address for the Republican Party, Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) focused on U.S. energy policy.
"Today we're knocking at the door of a brighter energy future; one that promises abundant, secure, and cheaper North American supplies, as long as Washington doesn't create artificial obstacles," said Upton, who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "That is what Republicans are working toward, and we invite the president to join us. If he won't lead, we will."
He said the Obama administration needs to push the "pause button on costly new" regulations affecting energy companies.
Republicans have repeatedly criticized the president's energy policies as the average gallon of gasoline has risen over 10% in recent months.
On Friday, the president created a panel to oversee natural-gas drilling and a method of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Scientists and environmentalists have raised concerns that the method could contaminate water and cause air pollution.
-By Jared A. Favole, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9256; [email protected]