Hoyer to Boehner: Reconvene the House to deal with the fiscal cliff

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"All of us ought to be here in this chamber today," Hoyer said. "All the Republicans, and all the Democrats, working so that our people have confidence that although our challenges are tough, that we are at least here trying to reach a consensus on solutions to those challenges.

"Lamentably ... we're not working," he said. "We're not here."

The combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff are foremost on everyone's mind in Washington, but House GOP leaders have said they are waiting for the Senate to take up House-passed bills dealing with these issues. The House adjourned after Hoyer spoke, and a House aide confirmed to The Hill that the House will meet again on Sunday, December 30, at 6:30 p.m. for legislative work.

It was unclear whether the Sunday session was a sign of a deal on the fiscal cliff, or an effort by Republicans to at least be present in Washington as the deadline for a deal approaches. However, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said he too is returning to Washington to consider some new proposal being made by the White House.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the House "may be in session through Wednesday, January 2," and noted that the new Congress convenes at noon Thursday, January 3.

Hoyer mentioned several other items that are not yet completed, such as a bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), postal reform, a farm bill and a supplemental spending bill for Hurricane Sandy cleanup.

"I would hope the Speaker of the House would call us back immediately," Hoyer said. "We have four days left to go before the end of this year, before all the items that I spoke about expire."

Republicans have called on the Senate to pass a VAWA bill without revenue provisions, and said that they hoped to be in a position to pass a farm and postal bill soon. The GOP has also indicated a few times that early next year might be a better time for a Hurricane Sandy relief bill, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said it has enough funds to deal with Sandy for a little while still.

— This story was updated at 3:13 p.m. to reflect the new Sunday session of the House.