In a press conference held Thursday afternoon, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi excoriated House Speaker John Boehner's fiscal cliff alternative bill, "Plan B," and the sequestration alternative bill as "the Merry Christmas gift to millionaires" that would make 25 million working families pay $1,000 more in taxes every year, while people making over a million would see their rates increase, but would get a $50,000 bonus tax cut to make up for it.
Possibly as a result of getting an earful from her caucus, Pelosi stepped back a bit on her previous remarks about the chained CPI, stressing in these remarks that the necessary protections for the disabled, the very elderly, and the poor that would have to be incorporated into the mix call into question "how much do you save by the time you mitigate for all of that." She was far less supportive of the idea of a chained CPI than she was Wednesday, when she said it wasn't really a benefit cut and would get the support of her caucus.
Nonetheless, Congress and the White House are "getting farther away from an agreement" with this vote, she said, calling them "bills to nowhere." The president has achieved one victory, she said, in getting Boehner to relent on the tax rates for people making over $1 million, adding "they've already become a little big pregnant on their tax pledge that they'll never raise rates."
That's where Boehner's problem lies. The House already voted on the rule for the upcoming consideration of Boehner's bills, and he lost 13 Republicans on that vote. Those 13 are probably pretty solid "no" votes on the "Plan B" bill (though they'll likely gleefully vote for all the cuts in the accompanying bill. From reports out of D.C., Boehner is having a busy afternoon rounding up votes.