House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called on Senate leaders Thursday to schedule a vote on his plan to extend tax cuts on income up to $1 million -- known as Plan B -- if it passes the House later in the day.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) pledged that the Democratic-controlled chamber would not vote on Plan B even if Boehner could muster the Republican votes necessary to send the measure to the Senate.
Illustrating Boehner's difficulties, the conservative Club for Growth not only reiterated its opposition to his plan to raise taxes on people earning more than $1 million a year, but urged lawmakers to reject a separate Republican bill that would partially avert a series of spending cuts set to take effect in January.
Boehner argued Thursday afternoon that Plan B would shield more than 99 percent of Americans from a tax hike scheduled to be implemented without congressional action next month along with the huge spending cuts.
"When the Senate Democrats and the White House refuse to act, they will be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history," he said.
Competing press events by Boehner and Senate leaders Thursday did nothing to resolve the stand-off over the year-end "fiscal cliff."
Democrats said Boehner was forced to move on his GOP-only plan after discovering he did not have Republican support for a broader deficit-reduction plan he had proposed to the White House.
Boehner charged that President Obama has not put forward enough in spending cuts and proposals to change entitlements to match Boehner's own concession -- offered to the White House on Friday -- to allow some tax rates to rise. Republicans have maintained for years that tax cuts enacted under the George W. Bush administration should be extended at all income levels. Obama and fellow Democrats have insisted that the cuts be allowed to expire for the wealthiest Americans.
"For weeks, the White House said if I moved on rates, they would make substantial concessions on spending cuts and entitlement reforms," Boehner said. "I did my part. They've done nothing."
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SOURCE: The Washington Post
Paul Kane and Rosalind S. Helderman