Boehner: I’m Not Afraid of Losing My Speakership

By Terence P. Jeffrey | December 21, 2012 | 10:23 AM EST

House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

( - House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) said on Friday that he was not afraid of losing his speakership in the aftermath of the stunning defeat dealt to him on Thursday evening by House conservatives who refused to vote for his “Plan B” proposal to increase the income tax rate on income over $1 million.

When a reporter asked Boehner at a Capitol press conference whether he should be concerned about losing his speakership, Boehner said, "No, I'm not.

"Listen, you've all heard me say this, and I've told my colleagues this, if you do the right things every day for the right reasons the right things will happen," Boehner said.

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"Now, while we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases, I don't think--they weren't taking that out on me," said Boehner. "They were dealing with the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes."

Boehner also insisted that he intended to continue negotiating with President Barack Obama on some sort of deal that would need to be enacted before the end of the year to avert the "fiscal cliff."

Boehner's "Plan B" proposal would have retained the current tax rates on income under $1 million, but increased the tax rate on income over $1 million. Almost all members of the House Republican conference have taken a pledge to the American people to oppose any and all efforts to increase federal tax rates.

Under present law, the current tax rates, which were originally enacted during the first term of President George W. Bush, will expire at the end of the year. At that point, the tax rates will snap back to the higher levels enacted under President Bill Clinton. President Barack Obama has insisted that Congress must increase taxes on the "rich," specifically calling for an increase in the tax rates on income over $250,000.

Boehner had planned on Thursday evening to hold a vote in the House on his proposal, but a sufficient number of House conservatives refused to support it, and at the last minute Boehner called off the vote, rather than lose it.

On Thursday night, Boehner put out a statement that said: "The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass."

At his Friday press conference, Boehner said that many Republican House members balked at supporting his proposal because there was a "perception" that it increased taxes.

"Listen, there was a perception created that that vote last night was going to increase taxes," Boehner said. "Now, I disagree with that characterization of the bill, but that impression was out there. And we had a number of our members who just really didn't want to be perceived as having raised taxes. That was the real issue."

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