As hope dims that Republican and Democratic lawmakers will come together on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff—the tax hikes and spending cuts that will start on January 1 as stipulated by 2011's Budget Control Act—polling suggests the GOP will carry the blame for Washington's failure to negotiate. House Speaker John Boehner, regarded as the face of the Republican Party in recent budget talks, is set up to becoming perhaps the biggest scape goat in the fiscal cliff debacle, as many have questioned his leadership skills throughout the negotiations.
Boehner has felt pressure from both moderate and hard line conservative elements of his party. Recently, he was unable to cobble together enough House Republican votes to pass his own "Plan B" fiscal cliff plan, which would have raised taxes on only those making more than $1 million a year. Some conservatives insist he take a harder stance on not raising taxes, while others criticize him for not being able to rein in the most conservative elements of his party.
Boehner has since tried to pass the ball to the other chamber, releasing a statement calling on the Senate to lead in a fiscal cliff deal. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid countered that the Senate has already passed a bill, which Boehner has declined to bring up for a vote in the House, because, some speculate, its passage could cost him his speakership. Reid called Boehner a "dictator" and accused him of putting his job security ahead of the nation's economic stability.
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