A little discussed story is the fact that the vote to adjourn the House of Representatives was only passed with the help of Speaker Pelosi leaving her luxury suite of offices and going to the floor to vote 'yea'. Why? Rep. John Boehner made a very good argument to the members that to adjourn that day was to vote in favor of allowing the tax rates in place for the last decade to expire.
The vote was 210-209. Pelosi made it clear she has no intention of bringing the tax policy up for a vote before the mid-term elections, especially with the Democrats in such tough races. Now it is clear that a growing number of Democrats are taking a second look at the logic of raising any tax levels during our current dismal economic times.
As reported in The Hill: The 39 Democrats who voted against adjournment were a mix of centrist Blue Dogs and vulnerable members from Republican-leaning districts. Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), Frank Kratovil (Md.), Walt Minnick (Idaho) and Tom Perriello (Va.) were among the vulnerable Democrats to vote against ending the work period without voting on the tax cuts.
Three House Democrats who are running for Senate, Reps. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Charlie Melancon (La.) and Joe Sestak (Pa.) also voted against adjournment.
As reported in the press, when Press Secretary Gibbs was asked why Democratic leadership in the House didn't take up the tax cut issue, he stammered and went to the standard default answer - the Republicans are to blame. Nonsense, of course, but he did it. As ABC News White House corespondent Jake Tapper questioned him and the validity that the Republicans could "hold hostage" any legislation in the House, Gibbs simply stayed on the talking point of blaming the GOP and failed miserably to shed any new light on the subject.
This is the statement released by House Minority Leader Boehner:
“A vote to adjourn this Congress without an up-or-down vote to stop all the tax hikes is a vote to raise taxes and destroy more jobs. American families and small businesses deserve better. This Congress has a chance to help end uncertainty for families and small businesses by stopping all the tax hikes set to take effect on January 1. If Democratic Leaders leave town without stopping all of the tax hikes, they are turning their backs on the American people.
“With the Pledge to America, Republicans are offering a specific plan to help create jobs, which includes stopping all the tax hikes. This is an agenda that could be voted on today if the Speaker will allow it.”
Boehner forced their hand and the Democrats punted. They kicked the tax rate increase coming in January down the road, hoping to save some Democratic seats.