Speaker Boehner doesn’t have the votes in his own caucus to pass a plan he thought would bring Democrats and the White House around.
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”
The failure to bring the measure to a vote marks a setback for Boehner, who was unable to marshal enough of his fractious, Tea Party-inspired members. Meanwhile, the nation moves closer to the so-called fiscal cliff, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared earlier Thursday that the Senate will recess Friday until two days after Christmas.
That would leave less than five full days to find a way around the cliff, which Congress itself created by mandating in last year’s debt-ceiling agreement that some $1 trillion in budget cuts start kicking in after Jan. 1. That’s also when Congress has mandated that all of the Bush-era tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 expire.