WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner hit back Thursday at suggestions that his "plan B" to avert the fiscal cliff is merely a negotiating tactic, saying he is "not convinced" it would not pass in the Senate.
"I am not convinced at all that the bill when it passes the House today will die in the Senate," Boehner said. "They can pass it, they can amend it. But today, they've done nothing."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said repeatedly that the bill would be "dead on arrival" in that chamber. And Reid also insisted Thursday that the Senate's plan to raise taxes on those making $250,000 and above would get "270, 80 votes, and that being conservative" in the House if Boehner brought it to the floor.
"We have conveyed to Speaker Boehner's office in no uncertain terms that the Senate will not act on House Republicans' 'plan B,'" Adam Jentleson, a spokesperson for Reid, added in an email. "Speaker Boehner is fully aware of our position."
"As Sen. Reid has said, Speaker Boehner's plan B is an abject waste of time and there is nothing to discuss until the House acts on the Senate's middle class tax cut."
Nevertheless, House leaders plan to vote Thursday evening on one bill to maintain tax cuts on income less than $1 million, and another to replace the sequester.
The latter measure was introduced as a concession to some House Republicans who felt uncomfortable voting for the tax measure on its own.
Thursday, Boehner would not answer a question about whether he had initially pursued a back-up plan because his latest pitch to the White House didn't have enough GOP support.