Editors note: Watch for more real time dispatches from the hallways on Capitol Hill as CNN's correspondents and producers cover the machinations of Congress. As always, the CNN Political Ticker is your source for up-to-the-minute political news- now even more so.
5:47 p.m. – California Rep. Laura Richardson is a rank and file Democrat who says she agrees with her leadership and the president that Congress should only vote to extend tax cuts for the middle class. But, she disagrees with plans to take that vote before the election, saying it's too fraught with controversy and potentially hurtful to many of her colleagues in tough races.
I ran into her in the hallway outside of the Speaker's office. She said "I would not suspect we would have a vote before we leave for the election."
Richardson is in a seat that is considered safe, but said she recognizes taking any vote on tax cuts is "going to take an awful lot of massaging at both ends in pulling people over."
I asked if the bottom line is that she thinks it's too controversial for a lot of Democrats in this election year?
"Honestly yes," Richardson replied.
She was the second person in a matter of minutes I talked to in that hallway who said they think the most important Democratic goal during the brief three week session should be to "do no harm," and only voting to extend middle class tax cuts but not tax cuts for wealthier Americans could harm some embattled Democrats in conservative districts.
The tax cuts do not expire until the end of the year, so Congress still has time after the election to act in the so-called lame duck session.