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U.S. House of Representatives scraps Republican bill

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The U.S. House of Representatives has scrapped a Republican bill to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff" that threatens to send the economy into recession. Now in recess until after Christmas, the House adjourned because the Republican majority failed to gather enough votes on this week to pass the budget bill of spending cuts and tax rises.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he was willing to continue bargaining for a bipartisan solution to avert the "fiscal cliff."

The president says that he intends to work with Congress. White House Spokesman Jay Carney says that the vote on the Republican proposal was cancelled due to lack of enough votes. The news came as something of a disappointment, as Obama wanted a deal signed before the Christmas break.

Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" was to raise taxes only on annual incomes over $1 million, intended to put pressure on Obama to offer more concessions. It must be noted that Boehner's plan would not have raised the amount of revenue that Obama has demanded.

Boehner said the bill "did not have sufficient support from our members to pass, in a brief statement.

He said that now it is up to the president to work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.

"While the White House slow-walks us all to the edge of the fiscal cliff, Republicans are once again taking action to protect American families, our economy, and our national security," Boehner's office said.

Obama says he will veto the plan. The top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid is likely to ignore it instead of taking it as a base to work out a wider compromise.

"What we are doing today is wasting time, pretending and making political points but not moving the ball forward to get to a compromise," senior Democratic House member Steny Hoyer of Maryland told MSNBC.

Republicans have insisted that Obama has failed to deliver on the promised spending cuts to rein in the deficit and hope Plan B will force him to offer more.

Both democrats and Republicans are still at odds on taxes. The White House wants taxes to rise on household incomes above $400,000 a year, a concession from Obama's opening proposal for a $250,000 income threshold, while Boehner's plan aims at income over $1 million.

Boehner, in a last-ditch effort added separate legislation with spending cuts in an effort to lure more conservatives that the tax hike was worth a risky vote.

The cuts aim to scrap the approximately $55 billion in defense program cuts scheduled to begin in January and shift the reductions to other domestic programs.

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