The GOP leadership abandoned its plan to extend Bush-era tax breaks for income under $1 million. After a full day of intense negotiations, House Republican leaders were unable to cobble together enough support from 217 of their 241 members for House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner’s, “Plan B” proposal, even after Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) assured its passage.
Democrats vowed not to support the measure
It’s a major setback for the Speaker as his attempt to display strength in his showdown with President Obama quickly turned into an exercise in exposing the limits of his power in the House.
Rep. Boehner called Republicans to the House floor for an expected vote, but after several hours he retreated to an emergency, closed-door GOP meeting in the basement of the Capitol. During that session, Rep. Boehner admitted defeat and sent House members home for the Christmas holiday.
Faced with wavering support from GOP conservatives — and no support from House Democrats — Republicans backed down. The debacle leaves Rep. Boehner with greatly diminished leverage in the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations with Pres. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and it pushes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to the forefront of the tax-and-spending debate.
Rep. Boehner says its time now for the Senate to act
Rep. Boehner told reporters in a night statement, “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. . . Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the Jan. 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”
The White House issued a statement that gave little hint of the president’s next step. “The president’s main priority is to ensure that taxes don’t go up on 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses in just a few short days,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in the statement. “The president will work with Congress to get this done and we are hopeful that we will be able to find a bipartisan solution quickly that protects the middle class and our economy.”
Rep. Boehner urged to talk to Pres. Obama and put bipartisan bill on House floor
“The only way to avoid the cliff altogether is for Speaker Boehner to return to negotiations, and work with President Obama and the Senate to forge a bipartisan deal,” Sen. Reid said.