At a press conference with the Republican leadership today, December 18, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he will continue to work with President Obama to find a balanced solution to the “fiscal cliff." Just in case a deal can’t be reached, Speaker Boehner announced that the House will vote on a measure to protect the majority of American taxpayers from the tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1. Boehner’s Plan B would protect American taxpayers who make $1 million or less by having all of their current tax rates extended into 2013.
The White House and Democratic leadership quickly rejected Speaker Boehner’s plan. They indicated that the plan doesn't ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes, instead the plan shifts the tax burden to the middle class and seniors, and it could not pass in the Senate.
Over this past weekend, the Speaker offered the President an agreement to allow taxes to rise for those making more than $1 million per year. On Monday, December 17, President Obama provided a counter offer that backed off of his position to raise tax rates on households making more than $250,000, by increasing the threshold to $400,000. The President also asked for a two-year reprieve on the debt ceiling. Speaker Boehner said that the White House offer on December 17 was essentially $1.3 trillion in new revenues for only $850 billion in net spending reductions, and, in his opinion, is not “balanced." Speaker Boehner said he's looking for a balanced plan from President Obama that cuts $1 trillion from the budget and raises $1 trillion in revenue.
The House may take up the "Plan B" proposal later this week. Plan B would be accomplished by amending a bill previously passed by the Senate that more closely follows President Obama's original offer. Then, the House would send the bill back to the Senate, where it would likely sit on the shelf as a potential last resort in case the President and the Speaker cannot strike a deal.
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