Plan B was always a high-risk strategy. House leaders sold it as a $3.9 trillion tax cut — one of the largest in U.S. history. But it would have allowed taxes to rise by about $300 billion over the next decade compared with current law. Some conservatives labeled it a betrayal that would put congressional Republicans on record in support of a tax increase for the first time in more than two decades — while doing nothing to curb government spending.
As the week wore on and House leaders scrambled for votes, Plan B appeared to gain traction as a preferable alternative to a deal with Obama.
“The Republicans are in an untenable situation,” said Rep. Dan Burton (Ind.), who was leaning toward supporting the measure Thursday. “If we don’t do anything, we go over the fiscal cliff. And then the president will come back . . . and if the economy goes to hell, he’s going to say it was the Republicans’ fault.”