WASHINGTON -- President Obama is expanding his campaign for a "fiscal cliff" plan that includes higher taxes on wealthier Americans.
Over the course of this week, Obama will meet with small business owners and middle-class Americans about the possible impact of higher taxes and budget cuts that would kick in next year if the White House and Congress are unable to reach a budget deal.
So far, the two sides are at an impasse over taxes -- hence Obama's stepped-up schedule of public pressure.
On Friday, Obama makes a campaign-style appearance at a toy manufacturing plant in Hatfield, Pa. -- "a business," says the White House, "that depends on middle class consumers during the holiday season, and could be impacted if taxes go up on 98% of Americans at the end of the year."
That is a reference to George W. Bush-era tax cuts that expire on Jan. 1 -- Obama want to preserve those tax rate for the middle class, but eliminate them for Americans who make more than $250,000 a year.
Republicans want to preserve all the Bush tax cuts, and instead put the emphasis on reduced government spending as the best way to reduce the nation's $16 trillion-plus debt. GOP officials said they would agree to new government revenues through the closing of tax loopholes.
The term "fiscal cliff" refers to a series of tax hikes and budget cuts -- including defense -- that take effect next year without a budget agreement.
Obama is trying to use the power of the presidency -- and the momentum of his re-election -- to pressure Republicans into giving up the tax cuts for wealthier Americans.
The White House outlines this week's schedule for Obama:
"On Tuesday, the President will meet with small business owners from across the country at the White House. A list of the small businesses is below, along with an analysis of the impact of the President's tax policies on small businesses.
"On Wednesday, the President will host an event at the White House with middle class Americans who would be impacted if Congress fails to act to extend the middle class tax cuts. Last week, Senior Advisor David Plouffe sent an email asking Americans to share their stories on how a tax increase would impact them ... The President will be joined on Wednesday by some of those Americans who shared their stories.
"Also on Wednesday, the President will continue his outreach to the business community and host another meeting with business leaders at the White House. A list of attendees will be released in advance of the meeting.
"On Friday, the President will travel to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania to continue making the public case for action by visiting a business that depends on middle class consumers during the holiday season, and could be impacted if taxes go up on 98 percent of Americans at the end of the year.
"President Obama will tour and deliver remarks at The Rodon Group manufacturing facility in Hatfield, PA. The Rodon Group is the sole American manufacturer for K'NEX Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Tinkertoy, K'NEX Building Sets and Angry Bird Building Sets. The Rodon Group and K'NEX Brands, both third-generation