Boehner on Failed ‘Plan B’: ‘There Was a Perception’ it Would ‘Increase Taxes’

Elizabeth Harrington | December 21, 2012 | 11:03am EST
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House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said his “Plan B” proposal, which would raise taxes on incomes over $1 million, failed to gather enough Republican votes in the House due to “a perception created” that it would increase taxes.

“They weren’t taking it out on me,” Boehner said of the collapse of support for the plan on Thursday evening.

“They were dealing with the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes,” he said.

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Had it come up for a vote and passed, the proposal would have raised the marginal tax rate for people earning $1 million or more per year from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

Speaking from Capitol Hill on Friday morning after the lack of support for the plan, Boehner was asked, “What went wrong?”

He said, “Listen, there was a perception created that that vote last night was going to increase taxes. Now, I disagree with that characterization of the bill.  But that impression was out there.”

“Now we had a number of our members who just really didn’t want to be perceived as having raised taxes,” he said.  “That was the real issue.”

Boehner continued:  “One of my colleagues the other night had an analogy of 100 people drowning in a pool and that he was the lifeguard.  And because he couldn’t save any of them, does that mean he shouldn’t have done anything?  And his point to them was, if I can go in there and save 99 people that are drowning, that’s what I should do as a lifeguard.”

“But the perception was out there, and a lot of our members did not want to have to deal with it,” he said.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). (AP photo)

Boehner defended his plan, saying it would have sheltered “99.81 percent” of the American people from the looming tax hikes that will take effect on Jan. 1.

"Plan B," however, would have violated the pledge that nearly all House Republicans have made to the American people to oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates. It would have done so by increasing the tax rate on income over $1 million after Jan. 1.

Boehner said he is not concerned about losing his speakership in light of his own Republican Party members refusing to support the bill.

“Listen, you’ve all heard me say this and I’ve told my colleagues this,” he said.  “If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen.”

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