President Barack Obama’s victory positions him to claim a mandate for pushing a proposal through Congress that would let tax cuts expire for top earners and avert $1.2 trillion in automatic spending reductions.
Obama now must decide how to contend with opposition from congressional Republicans who demand a tax-cut extension for all income levels.
A big question is the degree to which Republicans will back off from their opposition to tax increases.
To the extent that Obama “wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him halfway,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement. “That begins by proposing a way for both parties to work together in avoiding the ‘fiscal cliff’ without harming a weak and fragile economy.”