John Boehner, the House Speaker from Ohio, was unable to bring his ‘Plan B’ for the fiscal cliff to a vote in the House on Thursday. This defeat moves the country closer to the fiscal cliff, which is scheduled to hit on January 1 when a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes are set to activate.
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”
Representative Allen West, a Republican from Florida, said, “Merry Christmas. There is a lump of coal in the president’s box.”
Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, said, “Our leadership team did the very best they could and it was just too big a hill to climb.” Barton said earlier that he would be in opposition to Boehner’s bill.
The House was adjourned until after Christmas and the Senate was adjourned until two days after Christmas by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (Democrat from Nevada).
“We’re ready to go anytime,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said. “But just talking to ourselves up here, meeting as we did, with the president saying whatever you send us — I mean Harry Reid’s already said if you pass the bill tonight he’s not going to take it up, and the president would veto it anyway. What’s the point, folks?”
With the lack of a vote, the House and the Senate will have just five full days prior to the fiscal cliff to work out some sort of deal.
“It is now clear that to protect the middle class from the fiscal cliff, Speaker Boehner must allow a bill to pass with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes,” Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, said in an email to Huffington Post. “Speaker Boehner’s partisan approach wasted an entire week and pushed middle-class families closer to the edge. The only way to avoid the cliff altogether is for Speaker Boehner to return to negotiations, and work with President Obama and the Senate to forge a bipartisan deal.”
The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said the following about Obama in a statement. “The priority is to ensure that taxes don’t go up on 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses in just a few short days. The president will work with Congress to get this done and we are hopeful that we will be able to find a bipartisan solution quickly that protects the middle class and our economy.”
The bill created by Boehner had the goal of keeping tax cuts for people who earn less than $1 million per year.