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House Republican: Boehner doing 'the best he can'

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The legislation was Boehner's proposed fallback position in the increasingly likely scenario that negotiators are unable to agree on a deal that satisfies both sides before current tax rates expire and automatic spending cuts are triggered at the end of the year. The "Plan B" bill extended current tax rates on annual income up to $1 million but allowed rates to rise for taxpayers earning more. The bill was opposed on both sides: by Democrats, because they want a lower income threshold and by many Republicans, because they don't want tax rates to expire on anyone at all.

Hayworth, who lost reelection in November, would not say whether she believes Boehner can come up with a solution that satisfies his party before the deadline. 

"There is certainly a broad desire among House Republicans not to go over the cliff," Hayworth said. The so-called "fiscal cliff" refers to the end-of-the-year deadlines.

Boehner said Thursday night that it is now up to Senate Democrats to come up with a bipartisan plan. The House is in recess until after Christmas, and possibly until the end of the year.

"We've always been facing this challenge, between what's ideal and what's doable, and of course that kind of thing we find in all aspects of life," Hayworth said. "We really do face a terrible decline in our economy if we don't have growth in the economy and the only way to get growth ... is to provide tax relief and regulatory relief, and the Speaker's been doing all that he can to promote that cause. ... I think [Boehner's] got a great temperament and a lot of institutional knowledge and a lot of common sense." 

Hayworth said she expected the 113th Congress, which is sworn in Jan. 3, to face the issue. "This will not be an easy job going forward," she acknowledged.