Though President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner seemed on the verge of a fiscal-cliff agreement, the deadline continues to loom as both Congress and the POTUS have departed Washington, D.C., for the holidays, according to CBS News.
How did things fall apart? Here’s the short(ish) version: Mr. Obama and Boehner went back and forth with offers and counteroffers until they got pretty close to each other. In their most recent offers, depending on how you count it all up, Mr. Obama was offering roughly $1.2 trillion in revenue and $800 billion in spending cuts; Boehner was offering $1 trillion in revenue and $1 trillion in spending cuts.
Then Boehner decided to put forth his “Plan B,” the most notable component of which was where he set the threshold for tax rates to rise when the Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Mr. Obama campaigned on allowing the rates to revert to Clinton-era levels on income over $250,000, a position that a majority of Americans support; in “cliff” negotiations, he offered to set it at $400,000. Boehner’s “Plan B” set that rate at $1 million.
The White House said it had been told by House Republicans that Boehner had decided to pursue “Plan B” because he realized his own latest “cliff” offer couldn’t pass the House. The speaker’s office dismissed that claim, but it was hard not to conclude that it had the ring of truth after what took place Thursday night. That’s when Boehner’s “Plan B,” which he had repeatedly cast as evidence that the GOP was putting forward a plan to avert the “cliff,” fell apart.