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Dem senator: Boehner wasted a week pushing failed ‘Plan B’ measure

Blumenthal, in an interview Thursday on CNN's "Starting Point," said that Republicans should allow a bill backed by Senate Democrats to come to a vote the House. Reports say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may propose a measure to extend the expiring Bush-era tax rates for income-earners up to $250,000 a year.

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Blumenthal said that the legislation favored by Democrats could have passed at least a week earlier and faulted Boehner for focusing on trying to pass his Plan B bill. 

"If that Senate bill is brought to a vote on the House floor it will be passed by a majority of Democrats and Republicans but the Speaker wasted last week on a bill that had no prospect of success," Blumenthal said. 

President Obama and lawmakers are seeking an accord to prevent the tax increases and automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January 2013.

A week earlier Boehner canceled a vote in the House on his bill after GOP leaders realized they did not have enough support in the caucus to pass the measure. The Plan B legislation would have extended the Bush-era tax rates for income up to $1 million a year and also allow the rates for income over $1 million to expire. 

Boehner said the measure to prevent a middle-class tax rise would have shifted pressure back to Democrats in negotiations over a deficit-reduction agreement.

But the failed move left talks at a standstill. With the president and the Senate headed back to Washington after the Christmas holiday, negotiators now have 5 days to strike a deal. 

House GOP leaders said Wednesday that the Senate needed to act first on legislation.

Blumenthal urged Boehner to bring the Senate measure to a vote in his chamber.

"This fiscal cliff can be avoided by extending those tax cuts on the first $250,000 that every household makes. That's the Senate bill with some additional benefits that's before the House of Representatives. John Boehner should bring it to a vote," Blumenthal said.