Original Post – 10:29.a.m. ET; Updated at 11:38 p.m.
House Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans this morning that even as he tries to strike a deal with the President to avert the fiscal cliff, he is also moving on a Plan B.
Boehner’s Plan B is essentially what ABC reported as the “Doomsday Plan” a couple weeks ago — the House would pass an extension of the Bush Tax cuts for everybody except the very rich. in this case, Boehner’s proposal would allow the tax cuts to expire on everybody making over $1 million. The White House would get nothing else — no debt ceiling increase, no unemployment extension, nothing.
In a paper statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the plan cannot pass the Senate. He said it is the “farthest thing from a balanced approach,” and a “shame if Republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the Tea Party.”
This does not mean that Boehner is breaking off talks with Obama on a larger deal, but it is a fallback plan and a way to put some added pressure on the White House as Boehner seeks more concessions from Democrats on taxes and spending.
Here are excerpts of what Boehner told House Republicans Tuesday morning behind closed doors:
Current law has tax rates going up on everyone January 1. The question for us is real simple: How do we stop as many of those rate hikes as possible? And can we ensure the president keeps his promise to the American people to make real spending cuts along with it that will actually address the problem of our debt?
For weeks, Senate Republicans — and a growing number of you — have been pushing for us to pivot to a “Plan B.” I think there’s a better way. But the White House just can’t seem to bring itself to agree to a “balanced” approach, and time is running short. Taxes are going up on EVERYONE on January 1. They’re baked into current law. And we have to stop whatever tax rate increases we can. In the absence of an alternative, as of this morning, a “modified Plan B” is the plan.
At the same time we’re moving on “Plan B,” we’re leaving the door wide open for something better. And I have been clear about that with the president. Plan B is Plan B for a reason. It’s a less-than-ideal outcome. I’ve always believed we can do better.
During the campaign, the president promised the American people a “balanced” approach to the debt – revenues and spending cuts. And what I offered the president is the definition of balance: a trillion in revenue, and a trillion in spending cuts. Instead of letting tax rates rise on Americans making $250,000 or more, the rates would rise only on those making a million and up. Instead of getting zero spending cuts, we’d get a trillion in spending cuts, mostly from entitlement programs. Most importantly, we’d lock in a process for tax reform and entitlement reform in 2013 – the two big goals we’ve talked about for years.
The president hasn’t been able to get there. He talked about a “balanced” approach on the campaign trail. What the White House offered yesterday — $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $850 billion in spending cuts — cannot be considered balanced. We’re going to keep the door open in hopes the president can find a way to support a balanced approach.