Hope Dims for Fiscal Cliff Deal Before Christmas

Boehner sends House home after failing to win support for ‘Plan B’

House Speaker John Boehner sent House members home Thursday, handing off responsibility for a fiscal cliff deal to President Obama. (Photo: AP) House Speaker John Boehner sent House members home Thursday, handing off responsibility for a fiscal cliff deal to President Obama. (Photo: AP)

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A Christmas miracle on the fiscal cliff failed to occur after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called an abrupt recess for the House of Representatives on Thursday night. The House speaker made his decision after he failed to win enough support from fellow House Republicans on his “Plan B” budget proposal, which would have allowed taxes to rise only for Americans with more than $1 million in annual income. 

On Friday morning, Boehner told reporters, according to the Associated Press, that he's still open to talks with President Obama on ways to avoid the steep sequestration budget cuts and expiration of Bush-era tax rates due December 31. But when asked how the fiscal cliff could now be avoided, the speaker said, "How we get there, God only knows.”

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” a statement from Boehner read on Thursday, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

White House press secretary Jay Carney vowed that President Barack Obama would act but offered no clear path through the political mine field, The Washington Post reported Friday. The House is now out of session until after Christmas. The Senate is scheduled to meet for only a few hours on Friday afternoon before members leave town until next Thursday.

“The president’s main priority is to ensure that taxes don’t go up on 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses in just a few short days,” Carney said in a written statement. “The president will work with Congress to get this done and we are hopeful that we will be able to find a bipartisan solution quickly that protects the middle class and our economy.”

“Speaker Boehner’s partisan approach wasted an entire week and pushed middle-class families closer to the edge,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson added in his own statement. “The only way to avoid the cliff altogether is for Speaker Boehner to return to negotiations, and work with President Obama and the Senate to forge a bipartisan deal.”

We invite you to visit the AdvisorOne Fiscal Cliff landing page for up-to-date coverage on the fiscal cliff negotiations and the implications of going over the cliff.

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