House Leaders Throw in the Towel on 'Plan B'

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WASHINGTON -- House leaders gave up on "Plan B" Thursday night, a controversial alternate to a fiscal cliff deal.

It was a bill House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, came up with to avert the tax hikes that would hit 99 percent of Americans come Jan. 1.

But Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., rejected the speaker's proposal.

"It's the wrong approach," the New York lawmaker insisted. "Even if the House passes it, it will be dead on arrival in the Senate."

A frustrated Boehner said, "Rather than tell us what they can't do, maybe they should tell us what they can do."

"If the Senate Democrats and the White House refuse to act, they'll be responsible for the largest tax hike in American history," he warned.

But Boehner's been savaged by conservatives who insist Republicans should stand on principle and not vote for any American's taxes to go up.

"Tax increases don't solve the problem. Every single tax increase has led to more spending," For America Chairman Brent Bozell said.

Meanwhile, liberals are worried about spending cuts proposed in fiscal cliff negotiations and Plan B.

"Those unjust cuts would leave millions struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table," Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said.

Sister Richelle Friedman, part of the group Nuns on the Bus, is asking Congress to hike taxes on the rich and not "cut programs that really are the lifeline for many people who in this economic time have been impacted by unemployment and all sorts of things."

Meanwhile, conservatives like Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham, say a fiscal cliff deal can still be reached, but only if tax hikes are out.

"The American people did not re-elect a conservative House of Representatives to become tax collectors for Barack Obama's welfare state," Needham said.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.