House recesses for Christmas after collapse of 'Plan B'

House Republican leaders announced Thursday night that the House has recessed until after Christmas, just moments after the GOP pulled a vote on a controversial tax plan from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

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That announcement said specifically that the House has finished its work for the week, and that the House will return for legislative work after Christmas.

That announced came just moments after Boehner released a statement saying it's up to President Obama and Senate Democrats to work on legislation to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

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"Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff," Boehner said. "The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt. The Senate must now act."

Boehner's tax bill would have maintained current tax levels for income under $1 million. It was paired with a spending cut bill meant to attract GOP support for the tax bill. Both were meant to be a backstop in case Congress and the White House could not negotiate a way around the pending tax hike and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

Adjourning the House until after Christmas does not mean negotiations can't continue, and there were reports that Boehner and President Obama would remain in touch on the fiscal cliff.

At this point, both the House and Senate have passed bills to avoid the tax hike, but each chamber is refusing to take up the other's bill. The Senate bill would keep lower rates on incomes below $250,000.

The House did return briefly at 9 p.m. Thursday to approve a handful of bills naming post offices and other buildings, as well as H.R. 1509, the Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also delivered a five-minute farewell speech — he heads to the Senate in the new Congress. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) also delivered a farewell address — he won election as Indiana's governor — as did Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who lost his re-election bid.

— This story was updated at 10:06 a.m., Friday.

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