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WH denounces 'Plan B' as 'exercise in futility'

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-21 10:41

WASHINGTON - White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday said the "Plan B" pursued by the Republicans is a "multi-day exercise of futility" which holds back the fiscal talks.

"It's an exercise in Republican vote counting that will not result in anything for the American people. It cannot pass the Senate. The President would veto it if it got to his desk," Carney told reporter at the White House.

While saying the alternative option sought by the Republicans would represent "a major step backward" in the fiscal talks, Carney noted there is still an opportunity for compromise on a big deal.

US House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday crafted "Plan B", an alternative plan for avoiding the looming fiscal woes in case his attempts to forge a broader deal with the White House fail.

The House of Representatives is expected to hold a vote Thursday on the backup plan which maintains current tax rates for households making less than 1 million dollars a year.

Boehner said that he expects to keep working with President Barack Obama to try to avert the year-end "fiscal cliff" after House Republicans pass the plan.

"Our country has big challenges. The President and I are going to have to work together to solve those challenges," Boehner said at a news conference.

The House Majority leader Eric Cantor vowed on Thursday that Republican leaders would have enough votes to pass Boehner's "Plan B".

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ruled out a Senate vote on Boehner's bill, saying the so-called "Plan B" measures to deal with year-end automatic tax hikes and spending cuts are a "non- starter" for the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If a deal is not reached before the end of the year, some $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts are set to begin next month. The massive fiscal contraction could throw the US economy back into recession.

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