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December 18, 2012

Speaker Boehner: Time For 'Plan B'

As I noted in the morning post, President Obama and Speaker Boehner seemed a lot closer on a deal yesterday. Apparently Boehner doesn't think they're close enough. As I write this, he's briefing the House Republicans on his intent to go through with a 'Plan B' budget:

Boehner will make the argument to House Republicans that tax rates will go up on everyone come Jan. 1. “The question for us is real simple: How do we stop as many of those rate hikes as possible?” Boehner plans to tell House Republicans. “For weeks, Senate Republicans — and a growing number of you — have been pushing for us to pivot to a ‘Plan B,’” he will say. “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 Jan. 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.”

As I understand it, the plan is to allow the tax rate hikes to go through for those earners making more than $1 million a year. The budget portion of the bill would apparently avert sequestration, but I'm not clear what at what funding level. Updated [11:11AM]: The sequestration cuts would not be addressed in the Plan B bill. It's just to take the tax cuts issue off the table and then walk away if Obama cannot come to a cliff deal.

House Republicans are saying that a vote will be scheduled for later this week.

I have no doubt that the House Republicans will go through with this, if they have to. But Plan B has to be viewed additionally as an attempt to put more pressure on Obama to start advancing some reasonable concessions. The entire fiscal cliff debate has been an exercise in Obama goal shifting thus far. Obama just raised the tax hike proposal to those making $400,000 a year, abandoning his prior stance at $250,000. Now we know he can budge, it's time to push harder.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:27 AM

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