US political negotiations to avert triggering the fiscal cliff—a combination of government spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect Jan. 1—are in limbo as the Republicans Thursday night withdrew “Plan B” legislation amid division within their party.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner had put forward the legislation—which didn’t stand any chance of making it into law because of opposition in the Senate—as a symbolic show of Republican consensus on a deal, which involved higher taxes for Americans making more than $1 million annually. His inability to get consensus on the legislation raises questions about Boehner’s leadership of his party. It also lowers the odds of a negotiation solution to the fiscal cliff.
Boehner issued this statement:
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. 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.”
The Democrats and the Republicans remain divided over the extent of federal spending cuts necessary, the size of tax hikes on the wealthy, and the level where tax increases would kick in.