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Cantor Predicts House Will Pass 'Plan B'

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Cantor said Thursday that the House GOP has the votes to pass a tax relief bill and spending reduction bill.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor predicted on Thursday that the GOP will produce enough votes to pass its “plan B” legislation and said the House might stay in session through the weekend unless a fiscal cliff deal emerges.

“We’re going to have the votes to pass both the permanent tax relief bill as well as the spending reduction [bill],” he told reporters at a Thursday news conference. The spending bill the Virginia Republican was referring to was added to the docket at a contentious Rules Committee meeting Wednesday night. Similar to legislation the House passed in May, it would replace automatic spending cuts laid out in the impending sequester with cuts of the GOP’s choosing, primarily shifting cuts away from security programs.

That was added to the plan B legislation after Republican conservatives complained vehemently that plan B, which would extend the 2001 and 2003 tax rates for most Americans but allow taxes to rise on millionaires, lacked what they deemed were sufficient spending cuts. Democrats, furious that the spending-cut portion was added without their input and late in the process, boycotted the Rules Committee markup.

Cantor said Thursday that the votes are locked up now and the package will pass the chamber, and he put the onus on Democrats in the Senate and White House.

“We hope that the Senate will take this bill up along with the spending reduction act and get the job done in lieu of or absent any agreement coming from the White House.”

Cantor said the House will not adjourn after votes today, and a GOP leadership aide said leaders are still weighing whether to stay in session over the weekend to spur a deal on the fiscal cliff.

“We do not intend to send members home after this vote. We want to stay here. We want to avoid the fiscal cliff from happening,” Cantor said.

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