WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner on Friday vowed to continue working on avoiding a fiscal crisis, but said President Obama and Democrats must now lead the way after the Ohio Republican failed to win support for his “Plan B” tax proposal.
“We only run the House. Democrats continue to run Washington,” he said at a news conference the morning after an evening House session ended abruptly when it was apparent Boehner did not have the votes to win passage for a tax plan that would extend Bush-era tax cuts to everyone but millionaires and billionaires.
The House is not expected to hold any other additional votes until after Christmas, throwing into question whether a deal can be reached and approved in time to avoid $500 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are triggered at the first of the year.
“How we get there, God only knows,” Boehner said.
Boehner said it was up to the president to come up with a solution, and he expressed obvious disappointment over Thursday night’s developments within his own caucus.
“It was not the outcome that I wanted, but that was the will of the House,” the speaker said.
“They were dealing with the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes. That was the real issue.”
That Boehner could not muster enough votes for his tax plan could be evidence of his precarious hold of the speakership, but it remained uncertain if another Republican would challenge him next month for the House gavel. Boehner has been challenged to keep the GOP’s Tea Party wing in line.
But he said he was not worried about losing the speakership.
“While we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases, I don’t think they are going to take that out on me,” Boehner said.
Boehner was joined at the news conference by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, who commands wide loyalty among fiscal conservatives.
“We stand ready to continue in dialogue with this president to actually fix the problem,” Cantor said.
Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, during a appearance Friday morning on CNBC, said he and other Democrats were prepared to “work on getting sufficient number of Democrats to join with sufficient number of Republicans to pass a balanced, bipartisan agreement that the president will sign, the Senate will pass.”
“Just walking away and saying, ‘now it’s up to the president, and up to the Senate,’ is not a helpful stance,” Hoyer said.
Boehner and Obama had made great strides in recent days to bridge wide differences, but negotiations broke down midweek and must now resume anew to avert the crisis.Bobby Caina Calvan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.