House Speaker John Boehner will offer Republicans a "Plan B" Tuesday that would likely have rates go up only for millionaires.
Other Bush-era tax rates would stay the same.
Chances are the bill would easily pass the House of Representatives, where Republicans have a 241-191 majority. The Senate, run by Democrats, is also likely to be sympathetic.
The "modified Plan B," as Boehner plans to call it, would not preclude a bigger deal. He and President Barack Obama have been negotiating on a broad package, and will continue to do so.
But time is running out. The Bush-era cuts expire in two weeks, and the current Congress goes out of session Jan. 3.
Boehner, according to congressoinal sources, "plans to announce that – given the short time before America goes over the ‘fiscal cliff’ and the White House failure, thus far, to produce a balanced offer – the House will open up a second track and begin work on a ‘Plan B’ to stop most of the tax hikes on the American people scheduled for January 1."
Among the remarks Boehner is expected to make:
"Current law has tax rates going up on everyone January 1. The question for us is real simple: How do we stop as many of those rate hikes as possible? And can we ensure the president keeps his promise to the American people to make real spending cuts along with it that will actually address the problem of our debt?
"For weeks, Senate Republicans -- and a growing number of you -- have been pushing for us to pivot to a “Plan B." I think there's a better way. But the White House just can't seem to bring itself to agree to a "balanced" approach, and time is running short. Taxes are going up on EVERYONE on January 1. They're baked into current law. And we have to stop whatever tax rate increases we can. In the absence of an alternative, as of this morning, a "modified Plan B" is the plan.
"At the same time we're moving on "Plan B," we're leaving the door wide open for something better. And I have been clear about that with the president. Plan B is Plan B for a reason. It's a less-than-ideal outcome. I've always believed we can do better.
"During the campaign, the president promised the American people a “balanced” approach to the debt – revenues and spending cuts. And what I offered the president is the definition of balance: a trillion in revenue, and a trillion in spending cuts. Instead of letting tax rates rise on Americans making $250,000 or more, the rates would rise only on those making a million and up. Instead of getting zero spending cuts, we’d get a trillion in spending cuts, mostly from entitlement programs. Most importantly, we’d lock in a process for tax reform and entitlement reform in 2013 – the two big goals we’ve talked about for years.
"The president hasn't been able to get there. He talked about a "balanced" approach on the campaign trail. What the White House offered yesterday -- $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $850 billion in spending cuts -- cannot be considered balanced. We're going to keep the door open in hopes the president can find a way to support a balanced approach."