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House poised to spend more time at home in 2011

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House Republicans promise to work hard — but spend few weeks on Capitol Hill — when they take control of the chamber next year.

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia on Wednesday released the 2011 House legislative calendar for the 112th Congress, which contains 123 work days during 32 weeks.

While the number of days is consistent with first sessions in years past, the number of weeks in the session is an 11 percent drop. The Republican lawmaker says the schedule will result in less travel for members and potential savings to their congressional allowances.

House members in recent years often enjoyed work weeks with no congressional business scheduled on Mondays and Fridays.

Because the House schedule has fluctuated on a week-to-week basis during the past decade, Cantor has vowed to start floor votes no sooner than 1:00 p.m. and to regularly end voting on the floor no later than 7:00 p.m. each evening. He also set Dec. 8 as the target adjournment date for next year.

“Above all else, the House calendar will enable members to focus on the country’s most pressing concerns: the economy and jobs, reducing spending and limiting the size of government, and making Congress more transparent and accountable,” Cantor said in a letter to colleagues.

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