Earlier this year, Speaker of the House John Boehner argued that a proposal offered by Democrats extending tax cuts for everyone except those earning more than $1 million a year was “a big mistake” that “would kill jobs.”
“At a time when we are trying to help small businesses create jobs, this proposal would kill jobs,” Boehner said in May.
“I believe that raising taxes at this point in our recovery is a big mistake,” he said.
But fast forward seven months and Boehner has put forward a “Plan B” tax proposal strikingly similar to the one suggested in May by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
“Our Plan B would protect American taxpayers who make $1 million or less, and have all of their current rates extended,” Boehner said Tuesday.
With an end of the year deadline looming, Boehner is working to negotiate a deal with President Barack Obama to avert the automatic tax increases in the so-called fiscal cliff crisis.
The House is set to the vote on Boehner’s Plan B on Thursday evening.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Thursday about how the speaker could push a proposal he once said would “kill jobs.”
But Boehner and his allies have been arguing that while Plan B is not ideal, it makes tax cuts permanent for as many Americans as possible.
“I think we all know that every income-tax filer in America is going to pay higher rates come Jan. 1 unless Congress acts,” Boehner said this week. “So I believe it’s important that we protect as many American taxpayers as we can.”
In a conversation with The Daily Caller, a House Republican leadership aide explained the thinking for why conservatives should support Plan B.
That aide said while Republicans prefer for taxes to go down on everybody, Plan B is rooted in reality, while extending taxes for 99.8 percent of Americans is the best deal Republicans can get under Obama.
The thinking among Republican leadership is that they are facing just two options: Taxes are going up on everybody in January or only on .2 percent of the country. Under that thinking, the latter option is much better than the first, the aide argued.
Boehner isn’t the only prominent Republican who apparently thinks Plan B is the best-case scenario for Republicans after railing against tax rate increases.
Lower-taxes crusader Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform said Wednesday that they “will not consider a vote for this measure a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” which binds lawmakers to note vote to raise taxes, lest they violate their word.
But not all conservatives are on board. In a Thursday email to supporters, Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action for America, blasted Republicans for pushing “a tax-hike plan that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer pushed for in the past.”
Despite her support of a bill similar to Plan B, Pelosi now says she’s against it because tax rates should be raised on more people than just those making $1 million or more. (RELATED: Schumer: Republicans ‘missed their opportunity’ for $1 million threshold)
“This plan is a tremendous betrayal of both conservative principles and the voters who elected Republicans to office precisely so they wouldn’t raise taxes,” Needham wrote.