In a narrow vote Wednesday, the House agreed to adjourn until after the midterm elections without voting on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts.
The House voted 210-209 to end the session, with 39 Democrats joining Republicans who have demanded a vote on the tax cuts for the past few weeks. In a rare move, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to cast the tie-breaking decision.
House Minority Leader John Boehner took to the House floor shortly before the vote to urge other members to demand an opportunity to vote on the tax cuts.
“Vote no on this adjournment resolution,” he said. “Give Congress the chance to vote on extending tax rates.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer vowed to address the tax cut extension before the year was over.
“There will be no votes in the House next week, as were previously scheduled,” Hoyer said in a statement. “[W]e will make sure working families do not see a tax increase next year.”
The decision to cut the session short may act as a double edged sword for Democrats in vulnerable districts. While many of them have voiced concern that their time would be better spent at home campaigning instead of in Washington, many of them wanted an opportunity to vote on the record on the tax cuts, something they could point to on the campaign trail.
According to Hoyer, the House will reconvene on November 15.
As of this writing, the Senate has not yet agreed to adjourn, although Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday afternoon he plans to send senators home as soon as possible.