"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. And we had a number of our members who just didn't want to be perceived as having raised taxes. That was the real issue," Boehner said Friday.
Streaming from a late-night, closed-door caucus meeting, lawmakers made clear that no vote would be held after all. Instead, they would be going home until after Christmas.
Moreover, House Republicans appeared to be throwing up their hands at deficit-reduction negotiations, with several GOP lawmakers leaving the meeting Thursday night falling back on cries of support for bills that their caucus approved months ago and that were left for dead by the Democratic-led Senate.
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” said Boehner in a statement. “Now it is up to the president to work with [Senate majority leader] Senator [Harry] Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.”
Earlier in the night, one conservative freshman who said he would oppose Plan B bill sounded a note similar to that of the speaker.
The House has passed bill after bill that the Senate has sent straight to the trash in the past two years, said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R) of South Carolina. That has led him to conclude that the president and Senate Democrats are simply not willing to get to a deal.
While Representative Mulvaney says he is concerned that the recent discussions show a lack of seriousness by Democrats on cutting spending, what’s at least as important for him is to see a sign from Democrats that they want to get a deal.