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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor warned colleagues today that they could be facing a rare weekend session as soon as next week as lawmakers struggle to finish a host of year-end bills.
In an email to lawmakers, the Virginia Republican’s office warned that “beginning next Monday, the House will not adjourn again until we have concluded our legislative business for the 1st Session of the 112th Congress.”
“While our goal is to complete all legislative business by Friday, December 16, Members are advised to keep their schedules flexible into the weekend of the 16th. Saturday and Sunday sessions are possible.”
The House and Senate have a full plate between now and the end of the year, with an appropriations omnibus package, extension of long-term unemployment insurance benefits, an extension of the payroll tax holiday and the “doc fix,” which would head off a steep cut to payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.
The announcement was not unexpected. Leadership had already made clear the House would not meet its target adjournment date of Friday, and leadership aides for days have warned that Cantor and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would prefer to keep lawmakers in Washington over the weekend of the Dec. 17 in case a deal comes together.
Keeping Members in Washington can also serve a significant tactical purpose, since it could help put pressure on wayward lawmakers to get into line behind a deal they might normally chafe at.