US Congress adjourns ahead of pre-election sprint
Washington: The US Senate adjourned late Wednesday and the House of Representatives was poised to quickly follow suit as lawmakers faced a feverish final five-week sprint to November 02 mid-term elections.
The White House`s Democratic allies were expected to suffer heavy losses in that ballot, which Republicans cast as a referendum on the sour US economy and high joblessness.
Senators voted 54-39 to end a session resumed just two and a half weeks ago, while the House voted 210-209 to wrap up after a series of late-evening votes on legislation.
That left lawmakers free to return home for the last stretch of the campaign before the elections, in which all 435 House of Representatives seats are up for grabs, along with 37 of the 100 Senate seats and many key governorships.
It also left some marquee battles to be fought during the so-called "lame-duck session" between the elections and when a new congress is sworn in come January.
Among them, the Senate was expected to vote on ratifying a landmark US-Russia nuclear arms control accord -- the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) -- by the end of the year.
And lawmakers in both houses were to face off over whether to extend mammoth tax cuts enacted under former president George W Bush in 2001 that expire come January.
Top Democrats had hoped to renew middle-class breaks while allowing those on the richest Americans expire. Republicans, meanwhile, had pushed for all of the 10-year-old cuts to be renewed.
But the White House`s allies put off the vote until after the election in an apparent bid to ease political pressures on endangered moderates who sided with Republicans.
Before leaving, the Senate approved a stopgap spending bill needed to keep the US government open through early December, and the House was expected to follow suit.
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