Obama, Boehner: 'Fiscal Cliff' Impasse?

1:26 PM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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(CBS News) -- As the House readies for an expected vote on an alternate plan, dubbed "Plan B," to avoid massive tax hikes on all income earners, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he is confident he will have enough support to pass their plan.

"We're going to have the votes," Cantor told reporters this morning.

It seemed talks between House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Obama were progressing to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," as both sides offered major concessions to move toward compromise. But aides tell CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett that Beohner didn't have enough support in his party to pass his proposal that included $1 trillion worth of revenue increases.Boehner then announced earlier this week that the House would vote on the scaled-back "Plan B," a measure that extends the tax rates for everyone except those making $1 million. For million-dollar-per-year earners, their marginal tax rate would raise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

While "Plan B" would raise taxes on millionaires, which is something Democrats support, it was not good enough for Democrats, who want higher tax rates for more income earners. The president's latest "fiscal cliff" offer would raise the marginal tax rate to 39.6 percent on those making more than $400,000, a concession from his previous demand that taxes go up for households making more than $250,000.

But many Republicans protested "Plan B" as well because it would raise taxes on about 400,000 families, or about 0.2 percent of Americans.

Boehner's proposal doesn't abide by "clear conservative, clear Republican principles," Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan, told CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

In an about-face, anti-tax crusader, Grover Norquist, who has been instrumental in binding the hands of Republican lawmakers on tax increases, said Boehner's proposal does not raise taxes. Other outside conservative groups, however, including the Heritage Foundation, are urging Republicans to vote against "Plan B", saying it does raise taxes.

Generally opposed to raising any taxes at all, Republicans are also reluctant to vote for a plan that has already been declared dead in the Senate by Majority Leader Harry Reid, if it passes the House. "Speaker Boehner's plans are non-starters in the Senate," Reid reiterated today.

Even if it somehow cleared both houses of Congress, the White House announced Wednesday that it would veto "Plan B."

Another reason some Republicans also objected to Boehner's "Plan B" because it doesn't include spending cuts. Republican leadership addressed that concern Thursday morning, however, by offering a second piece of legislation that cuts $200 billion from the federal budget next year.

House Republicans "are taking concrete actions" to avert the "fiscal cliff" and reduce spending, Cantor said. "Absent a balanced offer from the president, this is our nation's best option."

During a news conference Wednesday, the president said Republicans "keep on finding ways to say no as opposed to finding ways to say yes" on agreeing to a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff."

He added that it's time for the Republicans to step up and compromise because its' "what the country needs."

The president pointed out their proposals are only "a few hundred billion dollars" apart. "The idea that we would put our economy at risk because you can't bridge that cap doesn't make a lot of sense," he said.

The president's latest proposal includes about $1.2 trillion dollars of revenue increases and $800 billion in spending cuts. Boehner said it's not balanced. His latest offer is, which is not what the House is voting on today, includes about $1 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in tax increases.


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