In one of the strangest moments of the fiscal cliff debate so far, House Speaker John Boehner delivered an abrupt statement Wednesday, warning President Barack Obama to “get serious” about negotiations. The 50-second “press conference” was in response to Obama’s criticism over Boehner’s “Plan B” option, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone making under $1 million — far above the $250,000 income threshold demanded by President Barack Obama.
“Tomorrow, the House will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for every American,” Boehner said. “Then the president will have a decision to make. He can call on Senate Democrats to pass that bill. Or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history.”
Then he stormed off stage.
In reality, the “Plan B” bill is a tactical move by the Speaker, who is publicly frustrated with the pace of negotiations with the White House.
On Wednesday, the White House slammed the “Plan B” bill, blasting out a four-page analysis that claims the legislation does not go far enough to help the middle class, and accuses Republicans of “perversely” leaving out any spending cuts. Obama confirmed Wednesday that he would veto the bill if it gets to his desk.
Boehner’s office hit back this morning, calling the White House’s opposition to the bill “bizarre and irrational.”
But Boehner’s “Plan B” has also come under fire from conservatives who oppose any increase in marginal tax rates. Both Heritage Action and the Club For Growth — two major grassroots conservative groups — sent memos to Republican members of Congress Wednesday, urging them to vote against “Plan B.”
Democrats have signaled that they won’t vote for the bill, despite having proposed similar legislation themselves earlier this year.
“You can’t turn back the clock,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said Wednesday. “The political landscape has changed. The Pres. ran on $250k.”