Democrats reject Boehner’s ‘Plan B’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Democrats rejected Speaker of the House John Boehner’s “Plan B” for the fiscal cliff, with the both the White House and House Democrats lambasting it as a non-solution.

Boehner said Tuesday that his negotiations with President Barack Obama are ongoing and that he is crafting a ‘Plan B,’ which would extend the current tax rates for people making less than $1 million. He said it would possibly address some other components of the fiscal cliff, such as the Alternative Minimum Tax and the death tax, but would not tackle the sequester.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer called the back-up plan “not helpful,” saying it was “more of a political ploy than it is a serious move forward.”

“I’m hopeful that we will not spend much time on a bill that is not going anywhere,” he said at a sit down with reporters Tuesday. “And it is a shame that with such precious few hours and days left, that we would be distracted by an effort that doesn’t solve the problem.”

Democratic leadership, he told reporters Tuesday, was not in favor of the plan.

“The Leader [Nancy Pelosi] and I both agree that we’re not for this,” he said.

Pelosi authored a letter to Speaker Boehner in May, calling for an identical proposal that extended tax cuts for those making less than $1 million. Hoyer dismissed that, saying he believed that had also been a “political ploy.”

“She wanted to show that Republicans wouldn’t even vote for a million,” he explained.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney issued a statement calling the plan a no-go.

“The President has put a balanced, reasonable proposal on the table that achieves significant deficit reduction and reflects real compromise by meeting the Republicans halfway on revenue and more than halfway on spending from where each side started. That is the essence of compromise,” Carney said. “The parameters of a deal are clear, and the President is willing to continue to work with Republicans to reach a bipartisan solution that averts the fiscal cliff, protects the middle class, helps the economy, and puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path.”

“But he is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors,” Carney said. “The Speaker’s ‘Plan B’ approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts. The President is hopeful that both sides can work out remaining differences and reach a solution so we don’t miss the opportunity in front of us today.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a similar statement indicating his opposition ‘Plan B,’ confirming Carney’s statement that it would not pass in the Senate.

“Speaker Boehner’s ‘plan B’ is the farthest thing from a balanced approach. It will not protect middle class families because it cannot pass both Houses of Congress. The Senate bill is the only ‘plan B’ that can be signed into law and prevent taxes from rising by $2,200 on the average middle-class family,” he said, referring to a bill that would extend tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year.

“Now is the time to show leadership, not kick the can down the road. Speaker Boehner should focus his energy on forging a large-scale deficit reduction agreement. It would be a shame if Republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the Tea Party, as they have time and again,” Reid added.

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