Boehner did not speak with reporters on Friday, but an aide reiterated that the House has passed bills to head off the fiscal cliff issues. “The Speaker told the president that if the Senate amends the House-passed legislation and sends back a plan, the House will consider it — either by accepting or amending. The group agreed that the next step should be the Senate taking bipartisan action.”
For a week, Boehner has been calling on the Senate to provide the House with something to vote on. If things work out according to Reid and McConnell’s plans, that might happen.
Should a bipartisan agreement remain out of reach, the president wants a vote on his last fiscal cliff offer to congressional leaders a week ago — a plan that would raise some $80 billion in revenue in the next year by extending lower tax rates for all but the top two income tax brackets. That revenue would be partly offset by extending expiring long-term unemployment benefits.
The president’s proposal would protect everyone making $250,000 or less from a tax increase and would prevent 2 million unemployed from losing benefits, among other provisions.
The White House did not include an extension of the payroll tax cut, signaling that it would allow that tax to rise to 6.2 percent from the current 4.2 percent. That is worth $95 billion in revenue, according to the Tax Policy Center.
The proposal would extend the alternative minimum tax “patch,” continuing what has become an annual Congressional ritual and saving some 28 million households from being subject to higher taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, and amounting to some $86 billion in tax savings for taxpayers.
Friday’s meeting came as some senators said they were working on their own 11th-hour bid, which would extend tax cuts for annual incomes up to $400,000.
Steven T. Dennis and Paul M. Krawzak contributed to this story.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.