Boehner Floats 'Plan B' to House GOP: Tax Hike on Income Above $1 Million

The maneuver would give Republicans political cover and put pressure on President Obama to compromise.

boehnercliff1218.banner.reuters.jpg.jpg
Joshua Roberts/Reuters

House Speaker John Boehner told rank-and-file Republicans that they should consider a "Plan B" on how to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

House leadership sources say the option would be for the chamber to pass a plan letting top tax rates increase on income over $1 million only.

The House would then send that bill, along with a House-passed bill extending the current tax rates enacted under former President George W. Bush for everyone, and leave it up to the Senate to decide.

"For weeks, Senate Republicans -- and a growing number of you -- have been pushing for us to pivot to a 'Plan B.' I think there's a better way," Boehner told GOP members at a meeting on Tuesday, according to his office.

But Boehner added: "The White House just can't seem to bring itself to agree to a 'balanced' approach, and time is running short. Taxes are going up on everyone on Jan. 1. They're baked into current law. And we have to stop whatever tax rate increases we can."

Few details were provided on what the House would do on other items, such as the scheduled billions of dollars of cuts to defense and domestic programs known as the sequester. One House Republican source said that the chamber would seek to push those into next year, and freeze some other programs into the new year.

"We're going to keep the door open in hopes the president can find a way to support a balanced approach," he told members.

The meeting on Monday was the first in which Boehner faced members since a Friday White House meeting where he first floated the idea of allowing tax rates for millionaires to go up.

The reaction of rank-and-file lawmakers to Boehner's pitch will go a long way toward determining whether the speaker has the leeway to continue trying to cut a deal with President Obama or whether he'll be forced to scrap the deal-making in favor of a more scaled-back plan that prevents the expiration of the Bush tax cuts from raising taxes on most Americans.

Chris Frates contributed reporting.

Presented by

Billy House

Bill House is a staff writer (Congress) for National Journal.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In