WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders said Tuesday that they could push a vote on their "Plan B" to avert the fiscal cliff as early as this week, even as Senate Democrats vowed to block the measure.
The plan, which Republicans said they are working on in case Speaker John Boehner fails to reach a larger deal with President Barack Obama, would preserve current tax rates on income lower than $1 million.
"I believe it's important that we protect as many taxpayers as we can," Boehner told reporters.
Boehner released initial details about the back-up plan the day after he met with Obama at the White House for 45 minutes, when Obama presented his latest counter offer. The two leaders also spoke on the phone Monday night.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected Boehner's nascent "plan B" out-of-hand, calling it "the farthest thing from a balanced approach."
"It will not protect middle class families because it cannot pass both Houses of Congress," Reid said.
Even were it to fail in the Senate, the plan would help Republicans pass off blame should the fiscal cliff deadline pass without a deal — and send a message to the president in his negotiations with Boehner.
"At many times, I think the speaker thought he was negotiating with himself," Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told reporters.