Boehner’s Plan B, explained

House Speaker John A. Boehner has pushed back against the White House's latest fiscal cliff offer with a ploy he's calling "Plan B": He plans to hold a vote in the House that would let the Bush tax cuts expire for income above $1 million — and nothing else. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohioa) is flanked by  House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, left, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy  during a news conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Boehner's proposal is meant to push back against President Obama's new $400,000 threshold for tax cuts: If it passed, it would, at least in theory, take away the White House's leverage on tax cuts that are now set to expire in 13 days. "We’re leaving the door open wide for something better,” Boehner reportedly told his caucus today. "And I have been clear about that with the president. Plan B is Plan B for a reason. It’s a less-than-ideal outcome. I’ve always believed we can do better."

Democrats, however, say that Boehner's "Plan B" is a nonstarter. "Plan B stands for backing out," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) said in a statement, calling the move "yet another example of House Republicans walking away from negotiations on a big deal to avert the fiscal cliff and reduce the deficit in a balanced way. "

And it's unclear whether House Republicans themselves are game for the tax hikes in any form. "I still keep coming back to the fact that if we actually vote and say some taxes are going to go up on some Americans, I think that’s problematic,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the Republican Study Committee, told my colleague Roz Helderman. 

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Ezra Klein · December 18, 2012