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House Punts Tax Bill Vote And Goes Into Recess

The House of Representatives went on recess Thursday after failing to vote on Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" measure to avert a fiscal cliff. It earlier passed a companion measure that would avoid looming cuts to defense spending and instead apply cuts to other programs.

Update at 8:03 p.m. ET: 'Plan B' Vote Dropped:

The House has failed to take up a vote on House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" measure. In a statement, the speaker said the House did not have enough support for the bill.

"Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff," Boehner said.

For background on the measure, visit our friends at It's All Politics.

Update at 7:53 p.m. ET: House Recesses:

The House abruptly went into recess after the defense spending measure passed by a narrow margin. The House was expected to vote on Boehner's tax measure, but there is debate about whether the Republicans will have enough votes to approve it.

Our Original Post Continues:

The House has passed a $633 billion defense spending bill that makes domestic cuts while sparing the military. The measure is a companion bill to House Speaker John Boehner's tax measure to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that would come if Democrats and Republicans fail to agree on a comprehensive deal.

The final vote on the Republican-backed spending bill was 215-209. The measure would reorganize the "sequestration" that is part of the year-end deadline that will bring broad tax hikes and spending cuts. The Hill reports that 21 Republicans voted against the measure.

As C-SPAN explains, the House Republicans' tax measure, known as "Plan B," "would permanently extend the Bush-era tax rates for everyone on the first $1 million of earned income."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said Thursday that the tax legislation would not come to a vote in the Senate. And President Obama has vowed to veto the measure if it makes it to his desk.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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