House Republicans on Thursday passed the first of two bills aimed at averting the looming fiscal crisis, approving a plan that would replace sweeping cuts to defense and other programs with cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The bill narrowly passed, on a 215-209 vote.
Up next, though, is a highly controversial bill that would prevent tax hikes for everyone except those making more than $1 million. Together, the bills amount to what House Speaker John Boehner is calling a “Plan B.”
The tax vote is expected to be close, as Boehner already lost 21 Republicans on the first bill.
Still, Democrats in both chambers, as well as President Obama, are adamantly opposed to both proposals — leaving uncertain how and whether lawmakers can avert tax hikes scheduled to take effect in two weeks. Without a deal, middle-class Americans could see an average tax hike of $2,000 next year.