House Republicans have scheduled two early evening votes Thursday, one on an alternative to automatic spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 2, the other on the plan to continue the Bush-era tax cuts for those earning less than $1 million, with the outcome of the vote too close to call.
Neither measure is expected to win approval, or perhaps even get considered, by the Senate, where Democrats control 52 of the 100 seats.
The tax bill will be most closely watched Thursday. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wants a strong Republican vote as leverage for his ongoing talks with President Barack Obama to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Here are descriptions from the Speaker's office of the two bills:
The Spending Reduction Act of 2012 (H.R. 6684) replaces the presidents defense sequester with common-sense spending cuts and reforms, and reduces the deficit by an additional $242 billion over the original sequester. The bill focuses on stopping waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs, eliminating government slush funds (including an ObamaCare slush fund), and reducing waste and duplication in government bureaucracies. The House passed this bill in May but Senate Democrats never took action.
The Permanent Tax Relief for Families and Small Businesses Act of 2012 (H.J. Res. 66) permanently protects millions of taxpayers from President Obamas tax rate hikes. The bill permanently extends current tax rates for everyone making less than $1 million, the $1,000 child tax credit, expensing relief for small businesses, and much more. Analysis by the nonpartisan JCT found it is a $3.9 trillion tax cut.