House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is undecided as to whether her members could leave Washington before the midterm elections without approving some legislation to renew major tax cuts.
"We will retain the right to proceed as we choose," Pelosi said.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Thursday that it was impossible for senators to approve the tax cuts before they left Washington. A senior House source indicated that Democrats want to approve the tax cuts. But there's doubt they can reach agreement soon.
House members are divided over what the tax cut package should look like. Pelosi and Reid are insistent that Congress won't adjourn for the year without approving tax cuts for the middle class. But even that's bit vague. Pelosi wants to slash taxes for those who earn up to $250,000. Other Democrats want less.
Meantime, Republicans demanded a renewal of all tax cuts, including breaks for those in the top income brackets.
Well over 30 House Democrats are encouraging Democratic leaders to okay all tax cuts.
Regardless, time is short for the House. Many lawmakers expect to leave Washington at the end of next week. That's left some to question whether it's wise for Democrats to adjourn without okaying the tax cuts as control of the House swings in the balance. But Pelosi dismissed electoral concerns.
"It's not about the election. It's about the policy and we're all very strong on that. And members, with a vote or without a vote, can go home and talk about their commitment to that," Pelosi said.