President Barack Obama said on Friday evening that if he cannot make a bipartisan deal with congressional leaders before the Monday “fiscal cliff” deadline, he has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring legislation up for a vote in the Senate that would extend the Bush tax rates for “middle class” Americans only and extend unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans whose government payments would otherwise expire.

“So if we don’t see an agreement between the two leaders in the Senate, I expect a bill to go on the floor—and I have asked Senator Reid to do this—put a bill on the floor that makes sure that taxes on middle class families don’t go up, that unemployment insurance is still available for 2 million people, and that lays the groundwork then for additional deficit reduction and economic growth steps that we can take in the New Year,” said Obama.

“But let’s not miss this deadline,” he said. “That is the bare minimum that we should be able to get done.”

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