Washington State Democrats Chair Dwight Pelz released the following statement on President Obama’s commitment to fighting for an extension of tax cuts for the middle class, in addition to working toward a balanced approach to reducing our nation’s deficit:

“When people in Washington mailed their ballots this year, they sent a clear message to Washington, D.C.: they want their elected leaders to cooperate to find a solution to bringing down America’s deficit and to work together to find a balanced approach. President Obama has a plan that reduces our deficit by $4 trillion. It asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and continues making the investments needed for economic growth – such as key investments in small businesses, American manufacturing, education, and clean energy. The President remains open to reaching a compromise, but throughout these discussions, his bottom line will always be a balanced approach that’s best for middle-class families.

“As we find ourselves in the holiday season, both parties should work together to pass a renewal of tax cuts for the middle class, so Washington families can have some added certainty. If we take swift action, we can avoid a blow to consumer spending, which constitutes roughly 70% of the American economy. Through an extension of middle class tax cuts, every single American will receive a tax break on the first $250,000 of their income, and income taxes will not increase for 98% of families and 97% of small businesses. But if we don’t pass an extension, hardworking families will get hit with an income tax hike of $2,200 in a matter of weeks.

“Republicans in Congress have indicated they share the President’s view that new revenue must be a part of any deal that responsibly reduces our deficit. Now they need to get serious about the specifics. Washington’s middle-class families cannot afford a tax hike at this crucial moment for our economy. It’s time for the Republican Party to come to the table and agree to a credible plan that pays down our nation’s deficit and protects the investments that will continue to grow our economy. The President is ready and willing to get down to business – working with both Democrats and Republicans to move the middle class forward.”