With time running short, House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday offered a fall-back option to avert the looming fiscal crisis, pitching a proposal to rank-and-file Republicans that would prevent a tax hike for most Americans.

The move comes amid accelerating talks with President Obama, but is being positioned as a “Plan B” in case those talks fail to yield a compromise before a Jan. 1 deadline — that’s when taxes are set to rise on everyone, followed by a wave of spending cuts.

“Every income tax filer in America is going to pay higher rates come Jan. 1 unless Congress acts,” Boehner said.

Boehner, with no less than his leadership standing on the line, is trying to walk a tightrope in negotiations as the president demands tax hikes that many Republicans adamantly oppose.

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