Republican rank-and-file emerging from a closed-door meeting where House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined his "Plan B" for averting the "fiscal cliff," said the speaker received a respectful hearing for the idea. The plan would raise taxes only on those earning $1 million or more.
Many, including conservatives, said they were eager to hear more and emphasized taxes will go up if they do nothing. Republicans said their goal now is to shield as many Americans as possible from a tax hike.
"There wasn't applause. There wasn't outrage," said Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.). "We're having a frank conversation about where we sit, the realities of our negotiating" position.
Members said their leaders indicated they will whip votes for the new path, tallying their support, this afternoon and then determine how to proceed.
But there were some signs of trouble for Boehner among conservatives, a dissension that could threaten his ability to pass a "Plan B" without Democratic votes if it grows as his members digest the idea.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Group, said he could see the "kind of logic" that led Boehner to argue a Republican alternative can save some people from a tax increase.
"But 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," he said. "We are the party that says you should not raise taxes."
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) termed the idea of a Republican vote in favor of higher taxes of any kind a "terrible idea." But with members working to show deference to the speaker's touchy negotiations, he declined to outline his objections.