Boehner suggests Democrats are bluffing on 'Plan B' tax legislation

Boehner suggests Democrats are bluffing on 'Plan B' tax legislation

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (R-Ohio) on Thursday told President Obama and Senate Democratic leaders he was calling their bluff after they threatened to kill the backup tax plan he has promised to push through the House.

“I am not convinced at all that when the bill passes the House today that it will die in the Senate,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLobbying world A new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE said at a midday press conference in the Capitol. “At some point the Senate has to act.”

With 11 days to go before large tax hikes and spending cuts kick in, the House on Thursday evening will vote on legislation that prevents part of the "fiscal cliff" by making permanent tax rates on income up to $1 million while allowing rates to go up for taxpayers earning more.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo Build Back Better, we need a tax system where everyone pays their fair share Democrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda MORE (D-Nev.) has said the upper chamber won’t even vote on the bill, and he said the Senate will recess for Christmas on Saturday. The Senate earlier this year approved legislation that extends tax rates for annual family income up to $250,000, but it has not passed the House.

Republican leaders say they will have the votes for Boehner’s “Plan B,” and on Thursday the Speaker continued the rhetorical battle that has emerged from his stalled negotiations with the president.

“For weeks, the White House said that if I moved on rates, that they would make substantial concessions on spending cuts and entitlement reforms,” Boehner said. “I did my part. They’ve done nothing.”

“I’ve become convinced,” he added, “the president is unwilling to stand up to his own party on the big issues that face our country.”

A senior administration official said Thursday that Republicans have told the White House that Boehner concluded he could not get enough support for the plan he offered the president over the weekend, and then shifted to "Plan B."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel blasted the charge as “stupid and untrue,” and when asked about it, the Speaker did not answer directly.

"The president knows that I've been able to keep my word on every agreement we've ever made,” Boehner said. “The fact is that his plan is not balanced and, as a result, time's running short and I'm going to do everything I can to protect as many Americans from an increase in taxes as I can.”

He placed the onus for action squarely on the shoulders of Obama and Senate Democrats.

“Rather than tell us what they can’t do, maybe they should tell us what they can do,” the Speaker said. “If Senate Democrats and the White House refuse to act, they’ll be responsible for the largest tax hike in American history.”

When a reporter told him that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told the press to tell Boehner that his bill had “no future,” the Speaker replied: “I talked to Senator Reid this morning. He was more polite than that.”

--Justin Sink contributed to this report.