President Obama to Renew Opposition to Tax Rate Extension Unless it Includes Unemployment Benefits

WINSTON-SALELM, NC -- President Obama is expected Monday to renew his opposition to even a temporary extension of current tax rates if it doesn't also include unemployment benefits.

He's scheduled to make remarks on the economy at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he'll also discuss how American workers can better compete in a global economy.

The speech comes after Friday's dim news that the nation's unemployment bumped up to 9.8 percent.

Lawmakers are still deadlocked on how to handle the current tax rates which are slated to expire at the end of the year.

Democrats, including President Obama, were initially seeking to only extend them for individuals making under $200,000 or couples making $250,000.

Republicans want to extend them for everyone, arguing that raising taxes for anyone, including business leaders who could create jobs, is not good for the economy right now.

Over the weekend the Senate held votes that consisted of mostly political posturing and rejected the Democratic plan.

Both sides are said to be closer to a compromise, which could includean extension of tax cuts for those over the $250,00 threshold and then also adding on an extension of unemployment benefits for another year.

Lawmakers might also offer just a temporary extension of current tax rates instead of making them permanent.

President Obama has commissioned two of his top administration officials including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew to broker the deal with lawmakers.

While the tax issue is dominating the economic conversation in Washington, Obama Monday will also focus on innovation and the next "Sputnik" moment, a reference to the first artificially orbiting satellite that was a hallmark of the space age.

The president is slated to visit two bio-tech classrooms before giving remarks at Forsyth Tech to students and local business leaders.

Forsyth Tech is a community college that offers more than 190 degrees, certificates and diplomas in everything from engineering and carpentry to race care mechanics and crime scene investigation.

North Carolina's unemployment is at 9.3 percent and went slightly down from its September numbers.

This is Obama's first trip to Winston-Salem since becoming president.