Boehner Goes for 'B,' Like It or Not

If there's anything Washington reporters can appreciate as the President Obama meander has gotten worse over the past four years, it's a short, sweet, to-the-point presser.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) a short time ago:

Good afternoon, everyone.

Republicans continue to work toward avoiding the fiscal cliff. The president's offer of $1.3 trillion in revenues and $850 billion in spending reductions fails to meet the test that president promised the people: a balanced approach.

And I hope the president will get serious soon about providing and working with us on a balanced approach.

Tomorrow, the House will pass legislation to make permanent tax relief for nearly every American, 99.8 percent of the American people. Then the president will have a decision to make. He can call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history.

And then he walked away.

In an attempt to stem criticism from some conservatives of Plan B, Boehner's office released a does and doesn't list...

  • Does not raise taxes. It is a net tax cut that prevents a $4.6 trillion tax hike on January 1;
  • Permanently extends income tax rate cuts for Americans making less than $1 million, which protects 99.81 percent of all taxpayers;
  • Permanently extends the current estate and gift tax ($5 million at 35 percent and indexed for inflation);
  • Permanently extends section 179 expensing for small businesses ($250,000 and indexed for inflation);
  • Permanently stops the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) from hitting more middle class families;
  • Permanently extends parity for capital gains and dividend taxes, preventing dividend taxes from being taxed at the highest rates; and
  • Does not include anything on the debt limit or other non-tax policy items. Remember, Speaker Boehner’s rule on the debt limit still applies: spending cuts must exceed any debt limit increase.

It has Grover Norquist's blessing. But Plan B is taking a beating from conservatives and liberals alike -- for different reasons, of course.

"The 'Plan B' is a very flawed proposal," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a Hill news conference today. "It gives huge tax breaks to the wealthy, an average of $50,000 per millionaire."