In what was either a remarkable display of bipartisan opposition to Obama’s tax increases or a shrewd exercise in Democratic vote-whipping, 39 House Democrats just voted against an adjournment resolution after Republican Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) made “a rare floor speech” urging them not to let a vote on extending current tax rates wait.
The final vote on the resolution to break for recess, which became a referendum on whether or not to vote on extending the tax cuts, only passed 210-209 after it was quickly gaveled to a close.
Boehner argued that deciding to adjourn without a vote on extending the tax cuts would be “an irresponsibility on the part of this Congress.”
Members who voted to adjourn were “putting their election above the needs of your constituents,” he said. “Vote no on this adjournment resolution. Give Congress the chance to vote on extending tax rates.”
When Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) was in the NR offices Monday, we asked him about the prospects of Democrats adjourning before a tax vote.
“What we want to do is make sure the American people understand that the Democrats in Congress are about to put politics ahead of your pocketbook: that their reelection campaigns are more important than creating jobs, or creating certainty in the marketplace,” Pence said.
Pence suggested that the reason the Democrats don’t want a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts is that they are scared they would lose it.
“There are 32 Democrats who have gone public with extending the Bush tax cuts. Rumor on Capitol Hill is that it’s a lot more than that,” he said. “In a lame duck, they might be able to just extend a number of the current tax-relief measures. But right now the American people have the greatest leverage over the Congress.”
UPDATE: The roll call of Democratic “nays” looks eerily like the health-care-bill vote: Blue Dogs and vulnerable freshmen.
UPDATE II: It’s official: There will be a two-week lame-duck session beginning Nov. 15.