Republican Opposition to Tax Deal Yielding to Late-Night House Vote

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner walk to a meeting of the House Republican Caucus to discuss the Senate's legislation that is supposed to blunt the effects of the "fiscal cliff" during a rare New Year's Day session Jan. 1, 2013 in Washington.

Updated at 9 pm EST

The word from the House’s Republicans today carried three messages:

— The Senate-passed tax bill negotiated by the White House and the Senate’s Republican leader wouldn’t fly in its current form.

— It’d probably return to the Senate, amended, further complicating a potential agreement forged past the midnight deadline.

— The House’s Republicans might be intent on forging a deal under their own power, without Democratic support.

Yet as the day wore on, the House’s Republicans appeared to wear out, preparing to meet the Senate bill on the House floor tonight.

Such was the state of the “bipartisan” negotiations on Capitol Hill, on New Year’s Day, Day One of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” and the second to last full day of the lame-duck Congress that was supposed to avert what is happening.

Rep. Steve LaTourette, an Ohio Republican, told reporters that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Republicans he couldn’t support the Senate-passed fiscal cliff bill “in its current form.” While Democrats reported that most of their ranks were ready to support the bill in the House, leaders there would try to craft spending cuts in order to get 218 Republican votes for the package, according to LaTourette.

Cantor “doesn’t like the bill,” said Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican, calling it possible that the House still would vote today and amend the bill, “greatly disappointed” with the Senate-passed plan– “this appears to be really heavy on revenues and really light on cuts,” he said.

Then Republicans found they couldn’t muster the votes for an amended bill.

The House was going into session again after 9 pm EST, on New Year’s Day — Day One, and perhaps the last day, of the fiscal cliff.

Jim Rowley and Nick Johnston contributed.

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