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Blogs / Leadership

Dems Raise Recess Ruckus

September 21, 2012

It's the last day of school on the Hill until November and, playing the traditional role of loyal opposition, House Democrats argued that Congress should not skip town.

"Democrats are proudly standing on the steps of the Capitol, saying we must stay here until we take action to help the American people," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said as she was flanked by more than 60 Democrats.

Pelosi ran down a laundry list of items that Democrats want to take up before leaving, including moving on President Barack Obama's jobs bill, passing a farm bill and extending Bush-era tax cuts for households earning $250,000 or less.

The Democrats intermittently chanted "Ready to stay!" -- well, most of them. A few boisterous members shouted "Ready to go!" seemingly unaware of its, um, situational double-meaning.

Awwwkward.

Later in the day, House Speaker John Boehner threw the blame on Senate Democrats, saying "we've done our work."

"Instead of them having this demonstration on the House steps, maybe they should have had it on the Senate steps," Boehner told reporters. "You know, it was Steny Hoyer who a couple years ago said the most important part of governing is doing a budget. Senate Democrats have not done a budget for three and a half years."

Boehner listed what House Republicans have passed, including a bill to extend Bush-era tax cuts for everyone. The Senate passed a Democratic version, and any movement on reconciling the differences won't happen until after the November elections.

A planned week of work in October was scrapped last week, and Senators are also raising some noise about early adjournment. This is one of the earliest dates that Congress is set to adjourn since 1960, USA Today reports, and the political reality is although lawmakers claim they want to stay and do work, both sides stand to benefit from the extra time on the campaign trail.

Ben Terris contributed.

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