Like all pieces of legislation these days, Plan B had a soothing title: Permanent Tax Relief for Families and Small Businesses Act of 2012. Last Thursday, it never made it to the House floor.
But Boehner’s legislative move began the night before with another bizarre, hastily-put-together plan designed to buy conservative Republican votes for Plan B.
This so-called Plan C was labeled the Spending Reduction Act of 2012. It was a 69-page cats-and-dogs collection of social program budget reductions mixed with a handful of earlier passed House measures that never had a chance to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate or become law.
It was after 8 p.m. last Wednesday night that the Spending Reduction Act of 2012 was distributed to members of the House Rules Committee that had been already been meeting for almost two hours to set rules for House debate the next day that was to include the fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization Bill and Boehner’s Plan B.
Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) tried to reassure Democrats on the panel that the new measure was only a revised version of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 that had been approved by the House in May.
At that time, Republican House members provided all 218 votes in favor of the measure, while 183 Democrats and 16 Republicans opposed it.
The White House had promised that President Obama would veto it should it ever pass Congress, saying, “This approach sharply undermines critical domestic priorities, such as efforts to prevent hunger and support low-income families and communities; to expand health care access and implement the Affordable Care Act; to protect consumers and implement the Wall Street Reform Act; and to support homeowners struggling to stay in their homes.”
One other section was wonderfully titled the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2012. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the measure could save the government some $45 billion over the next 10 years by imposing “limits on medical malpractice litigation in state and federal courts by capping awards and attorney fees, modifying the statute of limitations, and eliminating joint and several liability.” It also would, however, repeal the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that established the Independent Payment Advisory Board, according to the CBO.