House Dems to whip against 'Plan B'

House Democratic leaders will whip their troops against the Republicans' plan to hike taxes next year only on income above $1 million.

“Hopefully we will not spend much time on a bill that's not going anywhere,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) said Tuesday during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “[It] doesn't solve the problem and [it] doesn't have … the votes to pass.”

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Hoyer characterized the move by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as a “political ploy” designed “to give his members an opportunity to respond to the public that thinks all the Republicans are doing is protecting the wealthy.”

"The math doesn't work," he added. "We're going to urge our members to vote no."

With the clock ticking down toward a Jan. 1 income-tax hike on all earners, Boehner on Tuesday announced a vote to prevent that increase on incomes below $1 million. The move is a major concession from Republican leaders who have insisted that no tax rates go up as part of a fiscal cliff package, but it falls far short of the $250,000 income threshold President Obama and the Democrats have demanded.

Complicating the argument for the Democrats, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) proposed earlier this year to extend the Bush-era tax rates only on incomes above $1 million – the same plan Boehner proposed Tuesday.

Boehner's office has seized on that proposal, blasting an email Tuesday noting her support for the $1 million threshold.

Pelosi said recently that she proposed that threshold not because she supported the higher figure, but because she wanted to emphasize that the Republicans were opposed to tax hikes on anyone, even the wealthiest.

"It wasn't redefining wealth, it was about finding out where the Republicans were," she told reporters late last month. "And at that point they said, ‘no,’ if you make over $1 million a year, we are not going to touch one hair on your head."

Hoyer on Tuesday echoed that message, saying Pelosi "floated" the proposal as "a political ploy" because "she wanted to show that the Republicans wouldn't vote for even $1 million."  

"The leader and I both agree: we're not for this," he said of the Boehner bill.

Boehner has not announced when he'll bring his proposal to the floor.

Updated at 12:17 p.m.