Leader Reid rules out Senate vote on 'Plan B'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday the Senate will not vote on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) "Plan B" to extend tax rates for family income below $1 million.

The Democratic leader blasted Boehner for wasting time on "fiscal cliff" legislation that will not see floor time in the upper chamber.

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“We are not taking up any of the things that they’re working on over there now,” Reid told reporters. “It’s very, very, very unfortunate the Republicans have wasted an entire week on a number of pointless political stunts.” 

“The bill has no future, if they don’t know it now, tell them what I said,” he added.

Reid said Boehner should schedule a House vote on the Senate-passed bill to extend the Bush-era tax rates for family income below $250,000.  

“The Senate bill is the only one that will be signed into law. We could protect middle-class families tomorrow,” Reid said. “The Speaker refuses to bring our bill to the floor because it would pass.”

Republicans argue the Senate-passed bill is not a solution to the stalemate because it would allow tax rates on inheritances and dividend income to rise dramatically.

Democratic leaders say the GOP plan will not see the light of day in the upper chamber because it raises taxes on middle-class families, does not extend the college tuition tax credit, the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit and includes an “unrealistic proposal” for the estate tax. 

Boehner’s plan would keep the top estate tax rate at 35 percent. It is scheduled to rise to 55 percent without congressional action.


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“It will not come up for a vote in the Senate,” said Durbin, who called it “a disastrous plan which will hurt working families.”

“It is not good for working families across this country,” said Durbin, proclaiming it “dead on arrival.”

Boehner’s bill would make permanent current income tax rates for taxpayers earning up to $1 million a year but would allow taxes to increase for those making more. Party leaders were working Thursday to cobble together enough votes to pass the legislation, which some conservatives consider a tax increase.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday predicted that "Plan B" would pass, and said it's up to Senate Democrats to act. 

“We want to avoid the fiscal cliff from happening. And again, I think the decision is for the White House and Senate Democrats to come join us so we can avoid the tax hikes for the American people and avoid the fiscal cliff,” Cantor said.

Reid said the Senate has other important things to do, such as a $60 billion bill to pay for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York, New Jersey and other areas. 

“We’re going to do our best to finish that in the next 24 hours or however long it takes,” Reid said.

Senate Democrats also plan votes on the Defense authorization and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorization.

Reid said Boehner should return to the negotiating table with President Obama.

“Get back and start talking to the president,” Reid said. “You have a multitrillion dollar deal that they’ve been talking about, a multitrillion dollar deal. They’re a couple of hundred billion dollars apart.”

— Russell Berman contributed.

This story was updated at 1:33 p.m.