Updated 8:52 a.m. ET -- House Speaker John Boehner abandoned efforts to pass his ‘Plan B’ version of legislation to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff after conservative Republican rank-and-file members refused to follow their leader. In a dramatic defeat for House GOP leadership, Boehner suddenly cancelled a planned vote on the measure late Thursday night, conceding that he could not muster enough support within his own ranks for a proposal that would have raised tax rates on those making over $1 million a year.
Republican leaders announced they would shut down the House and head home for the Christmas holiday without legislative action to halt a mix of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in just 11 days.
At the end of a week that began with high hopes for compromise on a bargain to correct the nation's fiscal course, Washington now appears further apart than ever.
Boehner intended that his last-ditch tax effort, coupled with revised spending reductions, would give the GOP-dominated House continued leverage in its negotiations with the White House and the Senate, both controlled by Democrats. Having failed to convince his own party to go along, his high-stakes gambit now leaves the Speaker in a much weakened bargaining position on the fiscal cliff and battles yet to come with the White House.