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Fiscal cliff: Plan B vote called off

The GOP's Plan B on the fiscal cliff was called off tonight after House Speaker John Boehner failed to get enough support from his fellow Republicans.

Fiscal cliff plan b house vote dec 20 2012Enlarge
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner on December 20, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner spoke on the latest development of the fiscal cliff issue and the 'Plan B' that the House will vote on this evening (Alex Wong/AFP/Getty Images)

The Washington Post reported tonight that the scheduled vote on House speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" to avert the fiscal cliff has been called off because Boehner could not secure enough support from his fellow Republicans.

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement cited by the New York Times.

“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.”

Earlier in the evening, senior House Republicans met in Boehner's office after the vote was delayed.

Plan B would raise taxes on people earning more than $1 million a year, said the Associated Press. Democratic leaders don't see it as a serious proposal. They have vowed to let the bill die in the Senate, and urged Boehner to continue with negotiations, despite the stalemate between him and President Barack Obama.

"Republicans have made every effort to avoid the situation we are in," Boehner said earlier Thursday, according to USA Today. "President Obama and Senate Democrats haven't done much of anything."

Only 11 days remain before automatic spending cuts and tax rate increases — otherwise known as the "fiscal cliff" — kick in, threatening gradual economic recovery. While the Democrats have been pushing for increasing taxes on wealthy Americans, the Republicans have been calling for deeper spending cuts. 

The proposed Plan B is more of a tactical stunt, noted USA Today, because the Senate has promised not to act on it.

"We're not taking up any of the things they are working on over there," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "It's time for Republicans to get serious."

Though Boehner said the White House had given him nothing, The Washington Post noted that Obama had offered to trim Social Security benefits and extend tax cuts for families earning as much as $400,000, up from the earlier limit of $250,000.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Thursday that he was confident the Republicans had enough votes to pass Plan B, in addition to a companion bill which would deal with the automatic spending cuts.

More on GlobalPost: Boehner rejects Obama's fiscal cliff deal proposal (UPDATE)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121220/fiscal-cliff-plan-b-may-pass-house-vote-tonight