House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced through Twitter Tuesday the House would reconvene next week to take up a state aid bill.
Pelosi confirmed reports that had spread throughout the afternoon that the House would break its recess schedule to return to Washington and vote on a package to provide $26 billion in aid to states' Medicaid and education programs.
Her office said they opted to use Twitter to break the news, instead of a conventional press release, because of the intense interest in the vote.
"We wanted to get the word out quickly on the decision that the House will be voting to keep teachers on the job. The Senate cloture vote was a major topic that was being followed closely on Twitter, the blogs, online news site, newspapers, TV and wires," said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for the speaker. "So that is why we used Twitter, and we e-mailed the news release within minutes."
Pelosi's office tweeted Tuesday:
I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers' jobs and help seniors & children #FMAP
The speaker's Twitter page showed that it was "retweeted" — or, repeated by others using Twitter — at least 100 times, though the actual number is almost certainly much higher than that.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) quickly shot back on Twitter:
It’s official: Dems to call House back on Tuesday to pass more “stimulus” spending, "paid for" with new job-killing tax on U.S. job creators
Lawmakers would most likely return Monday or Tuesday to vote on the package, which made it through a key procedural vote in the Senate earlier on Tuesday, with 61 senators voting to advance it.
Democratic leaders' decision to call the House back into session reflects a sense among their leadership that the $26 billion package couldn't wait until September for final approval. The leaders debated the plan this afternoon after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) publicly suggested they might need to return.
With many lawmakers vacationing, campaigning, or just taking time off, it's not clear what sort of logistical hurdles House members might have to clear in order to make it back to Washington next week for the vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) actually had cut short the lower chamber's schedule earlier this year, reasoning that the House would be able to wrap up its business by July 29th.
Other lawmakers chimed in, also over Twitter, on Pelosi's decision to call the House back into session.
Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, tweeted:
ONE DAY ONLY: @HouseDemocrats call House back into session on 8/10 to save American jobs...their own.
And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said:
Great! RT @SpeakerPelosi I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers' jobs and help seniors & children
Updated 4:13 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.