House to vote on bill replacing sequester spending cuts

House Republicans late Wednesday introduced a new sequester-replacement bill that is expected to get a vote Thursday, in addition to a bill that would maintain current tax rates for people earning less than $1 million a year.

The new bill, H.R. 6684, is substantially similar to the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, H.R. 5652, that the House passed back in May. That bill reduced the deficit by $243 billion, left cuts to Medicare in place, turned off $72 billion in defense and non-defense spending, and added more than $300 billion in new cuts.

The House bill passed in a mostly party-line vote in May, 218-199, and only 16 Republicans voted against it.

The slightly updated version is meant to help House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) win enough GOP support on Thursday to pass his "Plan B," which is a separate bill extending current tax rates for families earning less than $1 million. Republicans were not happy with Boehner's plan to only address taxes — and even less happy that his plan would allow rates to increase for high-income earners — and insisted on some package of cuts to go with it.

The rule for the tax bill and the sequester bill was approved in a late Wednesday vote that Democrats boycotted. Democrats on the Rules Committee said Republicans used an "outrageous" process in which they added the sequester replacement bill to the agenda at the last second.

"Last night, at midnight, House Republicans released two proposals for consideration at today's meeting," committee Democrats said in a joint statement.

"Minutes before the meeting, they released two more proposals. After four hours of political theater and the last minute introduction of yet another piece of legislation during the meeting - a 69 page bill that no one had the opportunity to read - we refuse to grant legitimacy to this debate by participating.

"At first glance, the legislation they have introduced guts funding for healthcare, food stamps and other vital social service priorities. We will not contribute to a quorum in reporting out this rule."

— This story was updated later to reflect that a vote on the sequester bill is expected Thursday, and to reflect the Rules Committee vote.

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