Cantor says government shutdown looms due to Senate inaction on budget

Cantor also encouraged the Senate to consider H.R. 1 as an option, particular if it cannot pass its own measure. "Funding the government at the levels passed by House Republicans might not be what Senator Reid wants, but surely even he would agree that it's a better alternative than shutting down the government," he said.

Cantor's floor speech started Friday's debate on H.R. 1255, which calls for H.R. 1 to be treated as U.S. law in the event that the Senate is not able to pass a spending plan for FY 2011 by Wednesday.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other Democrats rejected the bill as an attempt to "deem" H.R. 1 as the law of the land without any input from the Senate or the White House.

"April Fools, America," Hoyer began. "This is a joke, America. This is not real, America."

Hoyer said Republicans themselves have criticized Democratic attempts to "deem" the passage of legislation, and criticized them for supporting a similar effort this time around

"My friends, reject this bill, reject this bill because it is a fraud on the American public," Hoyer said. "Reject this bill because it is an attempt to shift blame from the House of Representatives," he added, arguing that by passing H.R. 1255, the House is saying "our way or no way."

Republicans have dismissed Democratic arguments that they are trying to deem H.R. 1 into law, and have said the bill is meant to raise the pressure on the Senate to pass a bill.

Cantor and Hoyer started the debate on H.R. 1255 in the early afternoon, just moments after the House approved the rule for the bill by a 229-187 vote. Only one Republican, Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), voted against the rule.