House Republicans plan to press ahead Thursday and pass a bill dubbed “Plan B” that Speaker John Boehner rolled out earlier this week as a backup proposal if a deal is not reached with the White House on averting the “fiscal cliff.” “Plan B” would raise taxes on people earning over $1 million a year but not block deep spending cuts set to trigger Jan. 1.
The legislation stands little chance of passing the Senate, and it faces a veto if it reaches the White House.
President Barack Obama said at a press conference Wednesday that he will reach out to congressional leaders this week to find out "what is holding this thing up." Economists warn that failure to reach a fiscal cliff deal could push the economy back into recession.
Meanwhile on Thursday, lawmakers will be trying to get answers about the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack that left U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three colleagues dead. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a hearing in the morning, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee has one in the afternoon. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will testify at both. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton originally was scheduled but she became ill over the weekend.
The Senate will resume debate Thursday on legislation that would provide $60.4 billion in disaster aid for Superstorm Sandy victims. Some Republicans say the price tag is too high and want it partially offset by spending cuts.
And then there is this: Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, lies in state in the U.S. Capitol after dying on Monday from respiratory complications at age 88. He was the longest serving senator in U.S. history -- 49 years, following four years in the House of Representatives. Inouye lost an arm in a bunker assault in Italy during World War II and received the Medal of Honor.
And this: Vice President Joe Biden meets with law enforcement leaders from across the country at the White House on Thursday to begin the effort to develop gun control policy proposals following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. President Obama tasked Biden on Wednesday with developing proposals “no later than January.”