President Barack Obama said that an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support on Tuesday protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle class tax hike. \"This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way - by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more,\" Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. \"Today\'s agreement builds on previous efforts to reduce our deficits,\" Obama added. \"Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut spending by more than $1 trillion,\" he added. \"Tonight\'s agreement does even more by asking millionaires and billionaires to begin to pay their fair share for the first time in twenty years. As promised, that increase will be immediate, and it will be permanent,\" he said. \"There\'s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I\'m willing to do it. But tonight\'s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans,\" he pointed out. \"And as we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, I will continue to fight every day on behalf of the middle class and all those fighting to get into the middle class to forge an economy that grows from the middle out, not from the top down,\" he said.