House Republican leaders voiced serious concern Tuesday afternoon about the Senate's just-passed fiscal crisis bill during a closed door meeting with rank-and-file lawmakers, sources told Fox News. The response raised questions about how the House would handle the deal, which was highly touted by bipartisan officials in the Senate just hours earlier.
Doubts that the GOP-controlled House would pass the plan intensified Tuesday afternoon. Lawmakers have just two days to go before a new Congress convenes which limits the House’s options. The House can reject the plan, pass it as written by the Senate – which is unlikely given strong GOP opposition – or amend it. If the House amends it, the legislation goes back to the Senate where time constraints would likely kill it for the current Congressional session.
GOP lawmakers privately met midday Tuesday to gauge support for the accord. While Republican lawmakers expressed concern about the plan they did not directly speak out against it. Instead, Fox News has learned that House Speaker John Boehner held a venting session where members of his party voiced their concern about the legislation. Members also offered up options on what they’d like to see added in or taken out of the bill.
As Boehner listened to Republicans, Vice President Joe Biden listened to what House Democrats had to say. The outcome of Tuesday’s mini-meetings are not yet known. What is known is that time is running out for lawmakers to approve the plan or make meaningful changes to the one passed by the Senate this morning.
The Senate’s plan would prevent taxes from going up on the poor and middle class but would raise rates on households making more than $450,000 a year. It also would also put off for two months more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts that were set to hit the Pentagon and domestic programs starting this week, and it would extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.
The Senate voted 89-8 in favor of the package two hours after midnight.
Senate leaders hailed the deal as an “imperfect” but vital solution to the fiscal crisis.
“The president wanted tax increases, but thanks to this imperfect agreement, 99 percent of my constituents won’t be hit by those hikes,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Obama praised Senate lawmakers for passing the bill and implored the House to do the same.
"There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it," Obama said in a statement. "But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans."
Senate leaders assembled the vote after a marathon weekend of talks during which Vice President Biden and McConnell did much of the hard bargaining. After the White House and Senate Republicans agreed to the framework, Biden was brought in once more to sell the deal to reluctant Senate Democrats Monday night.
The late-night deal ironed out the last major sticking point between the two sides -- what to do about the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts set to kick in starting in January.
Officials said the two sides agreed to postpone the cuts by two months, in exchange for a 50-50 mix of revenue increases and spending cuts. Of those cuts, half would come from defense and half would come from other budgets.
Fox News has also learned the deal contains a repeal of an ObamaCare program called the CLASS Act. The provision, which would set up a government-run long-term care program, was never actually implemented amid concerns that it couldn't generate enough revenue to sustain itself.
Fox News' Ed Henry, Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.