Report: GOP to try own tax hike as cliff talks stall again

Just hours after there was a reported breakthrough in fiscal cliff negotiations, there were signs on Tuesday that the GOP will move forward with a proposed tax hike, without involving the Democrats.

Politico and The Hill said House Speaker John Boehner was preparing a bill that called for a tax hike on households making more than $1 million a year. If the proposal is similar to other ideas floated out by the GOP earlier this month, the Bush-era tax cuts would remain in place for the non-millionaires.

“For weeks, Senate Republicans–and a growing number of you–have been pushing for us to pivot to a “Plan B.” I think there’s a better way. But the White House just can’t seem to bring itself to agree to a “balanced” approach, and time is running short,” Boehner said in prepared remarks.

The Republicans control the House and in theory, can pass almost any budget measure, but the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. What’s unknown is how many GOP members in the House would vote for any form of a tax hike.

Influential activist Grover Norquist, among others, are strongly opposed to such measures.

On Monday, President Barack Obama proposed a tax hike on households making more than $400,000 a year, backing off a previous pledge to see taxes on incomes of about $250,000. The Obama administration also proposed savings from spending and entitlement cuts between $930 billion and $1.2 trillion.

Boehner rejected that proposal, insisting the spending cuts match tax revenue increases. He says the Obama plan calls for $1.3 trillion in new tax revenue, and only $930 billion in spending cuts.

“Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the president has made previously is a step in the right direction, but a proposal that includes $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $930 billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.

The Obama plan also called for an automatic extension of the debt ceiling for two years.

“Most importantly, we’d lock in a process for tax reform and entitlement reform in 2013–the two big goals we’ve talked about for years,” Boehner said.

After the fiscal cliff talks broke down in November 2011, Republicans sought tax reform as a long-term solution to the nation’s borrowing problems.

The current GOP proposal realizes most tax revenue increases by closing tax loopholes and tightening other regulations.

If a deal isn’t reached by January 1, 2013, huge automatic spending cuts will go into effect, along with the restoration of higher tax rates for most Americans.

Economist fear the harsh measures will trigger another short-term recession.

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