President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner pressed ahead Tuesday on trying to avert the "fiscal cliff" after the White House rejected a narrow GOP plan on taxes.
The alternative plan, announced by Boehner, proposed extending the Bush tax cuts for those making up to $1 million while the two sides negotiated the other issues. But the White House quickly rejected it, saying it didn't go far enough and wouldn't pass the Senate anyway.
Boehner said he still hoped to reach a "balanced" agreement with the administration on the fiscal cliff. But he offered a "Plan B" on taxes in case a broader agreement couldn't be reached before the end-of-year deadline in two weeks.
"I believe it's important to protect as many American tax payers as we can," Boehner told reporters.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the proposal wouldn't pass the Democratic-run Senate, although it is essentially the same plan that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recommended last May. Pelosi also has rejected Boehner's "Plan B" proposal. Reid said by proposing the new plan, Republicans were "walking away" from serious negotiations.
"Now is the time to show leadership, not kick the can down the road," Reid said. "Speaker Boehner should focus his energy on forging a large-scale deficit reduction agreement. It would be a shame if Republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the tea party, as they have time and again."
The White House, which on Monday offered to extend the tax cuts for people making up to $400,000 from its earlier $200,000 for individuals, said Boehner's plan didn't put enough tax burden on the wealthiest Americans.