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SALT LAKE CITY -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson's Republican opponent is criticizing him for voting to adjourn Congress without a vote on extending tax cuts.
If Congress takes no action by the end of the year, Americans of every income level face significantly higher tax bills.
Matheson supports extending former President George W. Bush tax cuts beyond their Dec. 31 expiration, but he joined other Democrats in postponing the question until a postelection session Nov. 15.
Democratic leaders have said they want to extend the tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 and individuals making less than $200,000.
Matheson's opponent, former Utah Republican Party vice chairman Morgan Philpot, says he wouldn't have voted to adjourn without addressing the issue.
"If you can't get 'em to vote on it now before their election, how are we going to get them to vote on it when they're not accountable?," Philpot said. "If they don't have the courage to do it now, I absolutely do not think they will pass them or they'll punt again or they'll let the tax cuts expire."
Philpot has been struggling to find a defining issue that will grab voters' attention and hopes this will be it. Without much of an advertising budget, Philpot and other Republicans have largely been turning to social media to drum up opposition to returning Matheson to office.
"My opponent walked out the door on the American people and abandoned the Utahns who deserve more leadership," Philpot said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Matheson is defending his vote to adjourn the House of Representatives, even though he's been arguing for a vote on tax cuts to happen before this point.
Matheson still thinks Americans can't afford to wait for the Bush-era tax cuts to be extended, but he voted with 209 other representatives to adjourn the session.
"The Senate wasn't going to move the tax bill at all before the election, so it became pretty clear that at this point, I think it's helpful to have members of Congress go and listen to constituents," Matheson said. "Hopefully a few members of Congress will get clearer heads on this issue."
The motion to adjourn upon completing routine business passed by a single vote -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's.
Story compiled with contributions from Brock Vergakis of the Associated Press and Becky Bruce.