President Barack Obama and Republicans are sparring on familiar ground today in their weekly media messages -- criticizing one another on the economy.

Obama blamed Republicans for a stalemate that could increase taxes on Americans next year while a leading Senate Republican cast Obama and his Democratic Party as obstructionists.

Obama pressed the Republican-controlled House to extend Bush-era tax cuts for households making $250,000 or less while letting lower rates on wealthier taxpayers expire and go up. He says the GOP is holding the tax cuts hostage to help the rich.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, says Obama's plan would do more harm to the economy and criticized him with almost identical language. He called for extending current tax rates for all taxpayers and spending 2013 overhauling and simplifying the tax code.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)