John Boehner (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was handed a stunning defeat late Thursday by members of his own party who refused to support his "Plan B" to avoid a year-end "fiscal cliff" that threatens to send the economy in to a recession.
GOP leaders worked intensely throughout the day to build support for Boehner's two-pronged legislative effort to cut spending and extend current tax rates for all but those earning $1 million, but they could not convince enough Republicans to vote for the proposal in the face of expected unanimous opposition from Democrats, who support President Obama's plan.
In a brief statement, Boehner said "it did not have sufficient support for our members to pass" and he put the onus to avert the "fiscal cliff" on Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. It was apparent that Republicans were in a bind when a hastily organized GOP meeting was called late Thursday evening. Boehner opened with the Serenity Prayer and then informed members he did not have the votes to pass his proposal and sent his members home for the Christmas holiday.
The House and Senate are not expected to return until Dec. 27, just four days before the "fiscal cliff" hits.