Plan B Vote LIVE: As Fiscal Cliff Talks Turn Sour, Boehner Offers Alternative Plan
The end of the year is nearly upon us, and House of Representatives is set to vote on their own fiscal cliff plan Thursday night in an effort to stymie negotiations with the White House to avoid stiff tax hikes and spending cuts in defense and entitlements.
Republicans in the House are aiming to push for Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) "Plan B" which raises taxes only on households making over $1 million annually in an effort to increase pressure on the Obama administration, which has insisted that threshold be set at a significantly lower $400,000 mark.
That number was originally a firm $250,000 before the White House conceded, reported the Chicago Tribune. One of Boehner's demands is that all of the Bush-era tax cuts on households below $1 million be made permanent. It also shifts roughly $55 billion in defense cuts to other social programs in an effort to lure more conservative members of the House into supporting the plan.
Boehner has traditionally had problems with some members of the Republican caucus who feel he is too eager to compromise with the president. However, conservative anti-tax reformer Grover Norquist has given his support to Plan B.
Obama will likely veto Plan B if it passes. A senior Democratic aide told al Jazeera that if the bill makes it to the Senate, it will likely be ignored by Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Democrats and Republicans must agree to a deficit reduction plan by the end of the year to avoid harsh automatic spending cuts in defense and entitlement spending such as Social Security and Medicare. During debt ceiling negotiations last year, the two parties were unable to reach a long-term deal.
With the bill having little chance of being signed into law, al Jazeera reporter Patty Culhane said that Thursday's vote was "not about solving the fiscal cliff. It's about blame … the majority of Americans say they will hold the Republicans accountable" if automatic spending cuts and tax increases are triggered.
Republicans claim the president has not done enough to reign in spending, and hope that the lower levels of income derived from letting fewer tax cuts expire will pressure Obama into cutting entitlement and discretionary spending even further.
The Washington Post posted Thursday a breakdown of all five plans that have been under consideration:
According to The Hill, Republicans can only afford 24 "defections" if House Democrats vote in unanimous opposition. Some 25 Republicans have declared their opposition to Plan B.