WASHINGTON (CN) – Congress ended its fall legislative session eight days early this week, with lawmakers adopting a temporary spending measure to fund the government for the next two months and heading home to prepare for midterm elections in November.
The Senate voted 69-30 on Wednesday to approve a stop-gap spending measure that will fund the government through Dec. 3. Nineteen Republican senators voted with majority Democrats to approve the measure. Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin voted against it and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was not present for voting.
The House approved the spending measure early Thursday with a 228-194 vote. Lone Republican Rep. Anh Cao of Louisiana joined majority Democrats in supporting the measure.
Congress failed to vote on extending Bush-era tax cuts during its short September session.
Democrats favor extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for those who make $250,000 or less while letting tax cuts expire for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, saying extending tax cuts for the top earners will cost the government $700 billion over the next 10 years.
Republicans argue that ending tax cuts for top earners poses a threat to small businesses and say both sets of tax cuts should be extended.
Congress will hold pro forma sessions, meetings in which no votes are held and no legislative business is conducted, until Nov. 12. Both legislative houses will return on Nov. 15.