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Washington • The House voted 210-209 on Wednesday to adjourn until after the elections, jetting out of town without passing a budget or extending tax cuts that would impact most Americans come January.
And GOP congressional candidate Morgan Philpot says one guy is to blame: his opponent, Rep. Jim Matheson.
Matheson voted with fellow Democrats to shutter the House until mid-November, a point Philpot says means Matheson's talk of pushing to renew expiring tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 was all bluster.
"I think it could likely be the most telling vote of his career and the vote that ends his career," Philpot said. "He of all people should not have been the one who cast the deciding vote for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to leave without a budget and without extending the tax cuts. He singlehandedly could be the one to blame by Americans on why their taxes are going up on January 1st."
Matheson says hold on, the vote was about adjourning, not anything about tax cuts. And besides, the Senate had left town as well, meaning nothing could be finalized until after the elections anyway.
"Any suggesting that this adjournment vote had something to do with cutting taxes is just playing politics," Matheson said. "That's really what's going on."
The congressman, who took the lead on a letter seeking a vote on extending all tax cuts, says that while he would have liked to vote on tax cuts months ago, they will happen after Congress returns; the more members talk to their constituents, the more they'll back continuing the tax cut.
"My record on cutting taxes, it couldn't be more clear," Matheson said. "And everybody knows that."
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland says Matheson's right and that Philpot is just chucking mud.
"This is just rhetoric from somebody who is behind by a significant margin," Holland said.
But Holland's counterpart, GOP Chairman Dave Hansen, took to Facebook on Thursday to say Matheson voted against Utah and for Pelosi.
"Even if the Senate couldn't have acted on it, the House could have," Hansen said during an interview. "I think it's disingenuous for him to [claim he's fighting for extending tax cuts but] when it comes time for him to cast a vote, he casts a vote for adjournment."