WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Monday called for Congress to extend by a year Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000 annually and said letting tax rates rise for higher earners would not hurt small businesses.

"This isn't about taxing job creators, this is about helping job creators," Obama said at the White House, noting that 97 percent of all US small business owners would fall under the $250,000 a year income threshold.

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