This was a vote on a resolution providing for an adjournment of the two houses of Congress for the traditional Thanksgiving recess. (This particular recess typically lasts for one week – the week of Thanksgiving.)
The minority party typically opposes adjournment resolutions as a symbolic protest against the manner in which the majority party (in this case, Democrats) are running the House – or as a protest against the majority’s legislative agenda. Under House rules, adjournment resolutions are not debatable. Thus, no members spoke in opposition to the resolution.
However, Republican members had sharply criticized the Democratic majority earlier that morning for failing to schedule a vote during the “lame duck” session of Congress on extending all of the income tax cuts enacted under the first Bush administration. (A “lame duck session” refers to a session of Congress occurring after an election, but before the newly elected Congress is sworn into office. This particular lame duck session took place after the 2010 midterm elections, in which Republicans won enough seats to regain control of the House of Representatives.)
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) argued: “The American people said in deafening terms that they are tired of the borrowing and the spending and the bailouts and the takeovers and the tax increases of the recent past. They voted for change. That's why it's so remarkable, Mr. Speaker, that this Congress is poised to allow one of the largest tax increases in American history to take effect in January of this year….It is absolutely imperative, if Congress accomplishes nothing else in this lame duck, that we take immediate action to make permanent all of the current tax rates.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) argued that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for top income earners should be allowed to expire: “We are going to have to decide whether or not to indebt the American people another $700 billion to extend benefits, tax benefits, for the richest 1 percent of the country. Before we go too far in feeling sorry for that 1 percent, consider this: From 2001 to 2006, 53 percent of all gains, total gains, in income in this country went to that 1 percent….Heed the words of the Roman priest Plutarch, who once wrote: An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”
The House agreed to the adjournment resolution by a vote of 234-184. 223 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted “yea.” 163 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to a resolution allowing Congress to adjourn for the traditional Thanksgiving recess.