John Boehner plays down setback of his fiscal 'fallback' plan
House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged Friday that too many GOP lawmakers saw his bill, which would have let tax cuts lapse for millionaires, as a tax hike. But the setback won't affect 'fiscal cliff' talks with Obama, he says.
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“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” said Boehner in a statement. “Now it is up to the president to work with [Senate majority leader] Senator [Harry] Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.”Skip to next paragraph
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Earlier in the night, one conservative freshman who said he would oppose Plan B bill sounded a note similar to that of the speaker.
The House has passed bill after bill that the Senate has sent straight to the trash in the past two years, said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) of South Carolina. That has led him to conclude that the president and Senate Democrats are simply not willing to get to a deal.
While Representative Mulvaney says he is concerned that the recent discussions show a lack of seriousness by Democrats on cutting spending, what’s at least as important for him is to see a sign from Democrats that they want to get a deal.
“You might get a different response from a lot of people in here tonight if the bill had already been passed by the Senate,” he said before the Plan B bill was pulled.
Conservative groups and lawmakers who opposed the bill – 13 Republicans voted against a procedural move to get to the Plan B bill earlier in the evening –hailed its collapse.
“Republicans should not be forced to vote for a ‘show’ bill that asks us to compromise on our principles,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) of Kansas, who voted against moving the bill and who was stripped of his committee assignments earlier this month for running afoul of party leadership. “For the last two years, ‘the job creator’ has been a priority; ‘Plan B’ kicks him to the curb. And, for the last two years – particularly in the last two weeks – we have been told that the problem is too much spending, not too much revenue; Plan B neglects our obligation to cut.”
The White House was succinct in its response.
“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,” read a statement from Jay Carney, White House press secretary. “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.”
But earlier in the day, Mr. Carney may have more directly laid out the predicament facing House Republicans.
“Instead of taking the opportunity that was presented to them to continue to negotiate what could be a very helpful, large deal for the American people, the Republicans in the House have decided to run down an alley that has no exit while we all watch,” Carney said.
“What I’m confident of,” he later continued, referring to a scene from a recent Batman film, “is that [Republicans] don’t have ... a Batplane to fly out to their own rescue.”
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