POLITICS
12/20/2012 01:19 pm ET Updated Dec 20, 2012

Harry Reid Slams John Boehner's 'Fiscal Cliff' Plan B As A Waste Of Time

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" to deal with the so-called fiscal cliff is a waste of time that won't even get a vote in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) charged Thursday.

"We are not taking up anything they are working on over there," Reid told reporters. "It's very, very, very unfortunate that Republicans are wasting an entire week on these pointless political stunts."

The combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff start to kick in after Jan. 1, and with President Barack Obama and Boehner (R-Ohio) still failing to agree on a deal to change that, Beohner is holding a vote Thursday night on his Plan B.

It would leave the Bush-era tax cuts in place for all income under $1 million, although it would let more recent breaks for the middle class expire.

Democrats backed a million-dollar level two years ago, but they no longer favor it after winning the election on a platform of letting the tax cuts expire on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

They argued again Thursday that Boehner should bring up a bill the Senate passed in the summer that sets tax hikes at the $250,000 level.

"We've sent them what we want them to pass we; want them to take that up," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

"This idea of passing Plan B is dead on arrival," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) added.

The Senate Democrats' position guarantees that there will be no deal -- should one emerge -- that gets a vote before the very end of the year.

Reid said that the Senate would adjourn Friday, and wouldn't be back until two days after Christmas.

Schumer noted that the sides are not actually that far apart on the revenue both sides are willing to raise, pointing to a Washington Post chart detailing the different offers.

"They are so close. What is the speaker waiting for?" Schumer said. He suggested Boehner may be worried about offending tax hardliners in his party and losing reelection as speaker next month when the new Congress starts.

Boehner later suggested that the Senate would have to take up his measure. "I am not convinced at all that when the bill passes the House today that it will die in the Senate," he said.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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