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December 19, 2012

What is Boehner Doing with Plan B?

House Speaker John Boehner unveiled his "Plan B" to avoid the fiscal cliff -- legislation that would raise tax rates on those earning more than $1 million but keep rates the same for everyone else -- and scheduled a vote for tomorrow.

First Read: "There are three reasons why Plan B -- if it's a serious effort -- seems so puzzling. One... the two sides are thisclose in getting a deal done... Two, if we go over the fiscal cliff (and time is running out, folks), Republicans might not realize the extent to which President Obama will own the bully pulpit in January. After all, there's a certain inaugural address on Jan. 21, as well as the State of the Union. And three, are enough House Republicans really going to cast a tough vote -- raising taxes -- without getting any spending cuts or resolution on the sequester in return? And are they going to cast a vote for legislation that breaks a longstanding pledge on taxes that has zero chance of becoming law simply to give Boehner leverage? If Boehner and leadership do pull this off and convince their rank-and-file to vote on legislation that is designed just to give Boehner leverage, it would be quite the political feat."

Rick Klein: "Boehner's gambit is either a brilliant technique aimed at strengthening his negotiating position, or a foolhardy scheme that will demonstrate divisions in his own caucus. He's putting his members on record (or, at least, trying to) in favor of tax rates going up for high-income earners -- precisely the kind of vote almost every Republican came to Congress to try to avoid. If he gets it, he shows his caucus' resolve in the face of pressure from the White House. If he doesn't, Plan A options will be scrambled, perhaps too late to leave time for Plan C."

Wonk Wire: Nearing the fiscal cliff end game.


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