What Comes After Plan B?

House Republicans embarrassed "poor, orange man" John Boehner and rejected his backup plan, leaving the negotiations with a complex future. Here's how Obama and the Speaker might move next, if Boehner's even still the Speaker.

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A Saturday Night Live skit came true Thursday night when House Republicans embarrassed "poor, orange man" John Boehner and rejected his Plan B to extend the Bush tax cuts on income under $1 million. In SNL's imagining, President Obama took such pity on the House Speaker that he compromised to raise taxes on just the two richest individual Americans. But we don't know what Obama's going to do next in real life, or if Boehner will survive as Speaker. "Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff," Boehner said in a statement Thursday night. In a press conference Friday morning, Boehner didn't have a plan to solve the fiscal cliff, saying at one point "How we get there, God only knows." We haven't talked to God lately, but here are some things humans have suggested as to what happens next:

When the House returns after Christmas, "It is going to be presented with a Democrat-authored bill as the nation stands just days from the fiscal cliff," Politico explains. Boehner could pass whatever the Senate passes with Democrats and about 25 Republicans. But The Washington Post's Paul Kane, Ed O’Keefe and Lori Montgomery think that would be pretty hard: "But Republicans said the well has been so poisoned that restarting bipartisan talks would be more difficult than ever." At The Washington Post, conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin says Republicans don't know what they're doing: "When I posed the question 'What next?' to several senior Republicans, the answer came back, 'I really don't know' or 'Good question.'" On NBC, outgoing Ohio Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette said, "It's unbelievable, this is horrible... I'm angry, I'm sad for my friend the speaker, and I'm sorry for the country. We deserve better."

The Senate could take up its bill to extend the Bush tax cuts only to income under $250,000, add on stuff like fixing the rate at which doctors who accept Medicare are paid and the alternative minimum tax, and then try to get the House to pass it, NBC News' First Read says. Or we might just go over the cliff.

In Boehner's press conference, several reporters asked if he would be ousted as speaker, a question Boehner tried to dodge. He got philosophical, saying, "if you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right thing will happen." Asked if he couldn't control Republicans, Boehner said, "The president knows that I've always been able to deliver on any promise I've made with him." But even Boehner's supporters aren't so sure about that. "It’s like saying that the superintendent of an insane asylum should be discharged because he couldn't control the crazy people. That’s nuts," LaTourette told Roll Call.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.