Boehner surprise: Dems barely get votes to adjourn after floor speech

House Democrats on Wednesday barely won a 210-209 vote to adjourn the House without extending the Bush tax cuts.

Thirty-nine House Democrats voted against adjournment after Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged opposition to the motion in a floor speech that said it would be irresponsible for Congress to leave without providing certainty on the tax issue. Dozens of Democrats in tough races voted against adjourning.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Vote no on this adjournment resolution. Give Congress a chance to vote on extending tax rates," Boehner said. 

Boehner's floor speech turned the vote on adjournment into a referendum on the tax cuts, which has divided Democrats for months. President Obama wants to extend tax cuts for families making less than $250,000, while allowing taxes to rise on income above that threshold. Many centrist Democrats have joined Republicans in arguing for extending all of the tax cuts. 



House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Wednesday that the House would not vote on the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts before lawmakers break for the November midterm elections. The House is expected to conclude its work late Wednesday or early Thursday morning.

The House had been seen as unlikely to vote on the tax measure since the Senate decided last week against acting on it before the election, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not inform lawmakers of a final decision until Wednesday morning, a House leadership aide said. Hoyer and Pelosi had split on the timing of the vote, but the aide said the two party leaders were ultimately on the same page.

Wednesday's vote, however, made it clear that dozens of Democrats were uncomfortable with leaving Washington without a vote on extending the tax cuts. 

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.

Members who voted to adjourn were "putting their election above the needs of your constituents," Boehner said in his speech. "Vote no on this adjournment resolution. Give Congress the chance to vote on extending tax rates."

Following the vote, Pelosi's office criticized Boehner's speech, saying it did not contain productive solutions to help aid the economic recovery.

"After listening to House Republican Leader John Boehner’s speech on the House floor today, it is clear that Americans face a choice: keep moving America forward—or return to what Republicans themselves call the 'exact same' agenda of failed ideas that favored corporate special interests, pushed us to the brink of economic disaster and left the middle class and small businesses struggling," a release from her office reads.

The House still has several votes today, including on a measure to keep the federal government operating through Dec. 3, before it adjourns. 

Here's the full list of Democrats who voted against adjournment: 

Rep. John Adler (N.J.)

Rep. Jason Altmire (Pa.)

Rep. Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)

Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.)

Rep. Tim Bishop (N.Y.)

Rep. Bobby Bright (Ala.)

Rep. Chris Carney (Pa.)

Rep. Travis Childers (Miss.)

Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.)

Rep. Joe Donnelly (Ind.)

Rep. Steve Driehaus (Ohio)

Rep. Chet Edwards (Texas)

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)

Rep. Bill Foster (Ill.)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.)

Rep. Martin Heinrich (N.M.)

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.)

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio)

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.)

Rep. Frank Kratovil (Md.)

Rep. Betsy Markey (Colo.)

Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.)

Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) 

Rep. Mike McMahon (N.Y.)

Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)

Rep. Charlie Melancon (La.)

Rep. Mike Michaud (Maine)

Rep. Walt Minnick (Idaho)

Rep. Harry Mitchell (Ariz.)

Rep. Patrick Murphy (Pa.)

Rep. Glenn Nye (Va.)

Rep. Tom Perriello (Va.)

Rep. Gary Peters (Mich.)

Rep. Mark Schauer (Mich.)

Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.)

Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.)

Rep. Zack Space (Ohio)

Rep. Gene Taylor (Miss.)

Rep. Dina Titus (Nev.)

Ian Swanson and Russell Berman contributed to this post

This story was updated at 2:00 p.m. and at 2:48 p.m.