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House Says Adieu After Clearing Extenders, Defense Bill

The House broke for its weeklong Memorial Day recess Friday afternoon after Democratic leaders engineered a last-minute save on a $113 billion tax extenders bill that had appeared dead in the water just a day earlier.

The chamber is slated to reconvene June 8, when a war supplemental spending bill that passed the Senate on Thursday could be atop the agenda.

Democrats’ passage Friday of the tax extenders bill came only after a series of fits and starts this week — prompted by opposition from fiscally conservative Blue Dogs and other moderate Democrats who oppose unpaid-for spending in the bill. But even though House leaders touted passage of the measure as a major win for the American people, it will not preclude unemployment benefits from expiring Tuesday because neither the House nor the Senate passed a short-term extension.

Democratic leaders have touted the extenders bill as the latest plank in their election-year jobs agenda.

“If I had four words to describe this bill, it would be … a four-letter word — I prepare you for that — jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a floor speech shortly before House passage.

In another victory for Democrats, the chamber passed a version of the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill Friday that would overturn the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning on openly gay individuals from serving in the military. The Senate could take up similar language before the July Fourth recess as part of its version of the defense bill.

The House also passed legislation Friday authorizing funding for science research over several federal agencies. That bill had twice been derailed by Republicans.

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