Mayors, millionaires meeting with White House officials on tax hikes

President Obama answers a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

WASHINGTON -- Mayors and millionaires are joining the parade of interest groups through the White House as the administration tries to build support for President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy.

The president plans to visit New York City on Thursday to view damage from Superstorm Sandy, but Vice President Joe Biden is due to host about a dozen mayors from across the country for a conversation on the subject.

Meanwhile, senior administration officials are set to meet with members of the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group of high earners lobbying Congress on behalf of the president’s general approach to tax policy.


Thursday makes three days in a row that the White House has hosted outside groups in an attempt to build support for Obama’s plans to prevent taxes on the middle class from rising at the end of the year.

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Labor leaders and CEOs met with Obama on Tuesday and Wednesday as the administration prepares to begin talks with congressional leaders. Lawmakers of both parties are invited to the White House for a summit with the president on Friday.

All sides are worried that the administration and lawmakers will fail to avert automatic budget cuts and tax hikes due at the end of the year. Economists say going over that “fiscal cliff” could throw the country into a recession.

In his first news conference since reelection, Obama said Wednesday that he can envision a scenario in which that would happen.

Already, some CEOs say they think the uncertainty about the looming tax hikes is harming the business climate and deterring companies from hiring. They are urging Congress to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, but Obama wants to do so for all but the wealthiest earners.

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The Patriotic Millionaires group includes director Norman Lear and actor Edie Falco, but administration officials did not say who exactly they are expecting at the White House.

The mayors on the vice president’s guest list are mostly Democrats, but officials said some Republicans, including Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Ariz., are expected.

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