Obama On Fiscal Cliff: Passage Of Bill 'Just One Step'

President Barack Obama weighed in on the fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress Tuesday, saying it's "just one step" in the effort to strengthen the American economy.

The Senate passed a fiscal cliff compromise at 2 a.m. Tuesday. After threatening to blow up the deal, the House followed suit 20 hours later, ultimately passing a permanent extension of many Bush-era tax cuts by an overwhelming vote of 257 to 167.

While Obama insisted he was "very open to compromise" in future talks, he emphasized he would not negotiate with Congress over the debt limit.

"I will not have another debate with this Congress over the debt ceiling," Obama said.

The AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says an effort to change the nation's tax code that is too skewed toward the wealthy has been achieved with the "fiscal cliff" deal approved in Congress.

The president said in an appearance late Tuesday in the White House that the House vote to prevent a mix of tax increases and spending cuts avoids a problem that could have sent the economy back into recession.

Obama says the deficit is "still too high" and warns that he will not negotiate with Congress over another increase in the nation's debt ceiling.

The House approved Senate-backed legislation preventing middle-class tax increases and spending cuts that technically took effect with the new year.

It represented a triumph for Obama after he campaigned for re-election on higher taxes on the wealthy.

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