Cantor: Clear calendars for spending deal push

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said lawmakers should be ready to work on a short-term spending plan during the last week of September — a week they were supposed to be off — setting up yet another 11th-hour showdown over federal spending in Washington to avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, said the chamber will meet at various times next week, but House members should clear their calendars for the waning days of the month.

“Members are advised that pending ongoing discussions on the continuing resolution the House may need to be in session during the week of Sept. 23 and possibly into the weekend. … This is a change from the previously announced schedule,” he said.

The Republican-controlled House is facing divisions within its ranks over how aggressively it should pursue a strategy that cuts all money for President Obama’s health care law as part of a deal to fund the government past Oct. 1.

Democrats in the Senate are unlikely to stomach any spending plan that dismantles or delays Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Given this backdrop and looming fights over keeping or restoring sequester cuts, both parties are girding for a last-minute fight.

“I’m pleased to see the majority leader is putting the House on notice,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said. “I’ve been telling my members for the last two months to reserve that time in the contingency of which the majority leader speaks.”

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