WATCH: President Obama Addresses Passage of Bill to Avoid Fiscal Cliff Tax Hikes
President Obama spoke late Tuesday after the House signed off on a measure to avoid the fiscal cliff's across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts.
Obama applauded the bill, which raises tax rates only on those making more than $450,000 a year, puts off spending cuts and extends unemployment benefits. It also increases by two percent the Social Security payroll tax on all workers.
"A central promise of my campaign for president was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working middle-class Americans. Tonight we've done that," he declared.
Obama added that he is willing to talk about spending cuts with Republicans, but would want those offset by increased revenue from the wealthy.
"I am very open to compromise. I agree with Democrats and Republicans that the aging population and the rising cost of healthcare makes Medicare the biggest contributor to our deficit. I believe we’ve got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors who count on it to survive. And I believe that there's further unnecessary spending in government that we can eliminate. But we can't simply cut our way to prosperity," Obama said.
He also refused to get into another protracted debate with Congress about raising the debt ceiling, which would need to be done in a few months.
"While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills they have already racked up through the laws that they've passed. Let me repeat: we can't not pay bills that we've already incurred. If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic.
Watch the address: