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US House cancels recess to work on gov't funding bill

Thursday, 12 Sep 2013 | 2:29 PM ET
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The U.S. House of Representatives has canceled an end-of-month recess that was to begin on Sept. 23 so that it can keep working on a short-term spending bill aimed at avoiding a government shutdown.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the week-long break had been scrapped as Republicans in that chamber struggle to pass a bill to temporarily fund the government in the new fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.

Without the measure, most U.S. government agencies would have to close at the beginning of October.

(Read more: GOP stopgap spending plan to be delayed)

The decision comes as House Republicans were beginning to shift their fiscal demands from withholding funds from "Obamacare" health reforms towards delaying its implementation.

House Republican leaders on Wednesday failed to muster enough votes within their party to proceed with a plan that would link a defunding of Obamacare to a stopgap measure that would keep agencies funded through Dec. 15.

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Republican conservatives had balked at the plan because they saw it as merely another ineffective symbolic vote against President Barack Obama's signature health care law and demanded a tougher line. They desperately want to stop the implementation of key parts of the law, namely health insurance exchanges for individuals that are due to launch on Oct. 1.

On Thursday, House Republicans were discussing a proposal to delay Obamacare implementation for one year, attached to a one-year government funding measure. Details of the plan from Representative Tom Graves of Georgia were still being worked out, but members said it had the potential to win more support from Republicans.

(Related video: Sec. Lew: Replace the sequester)

"I think a lot of members that actually want to defund (Obamacare) are starting to understand that by delaying it for a year, we're actually better off," said Representative Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican.

It was unclear whether the Obamacare delay tactic would also be linked to an increase in the federal debt limit, as there are a lot of proposals under discussion among Republicans, said Representative James Lankford of Oklahoma, a member of House Republican leadership.

"The vehicle is every vehicle that's out there," to delay the healthcare law, he said.

—By Reuters.

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