As the nation pauses to honor the life of the late President George H.W. Bush over the next few days, much of the legislative work which had been scheduled for action in the Congress will also be put on hold this week, further raising questions about what lawmakers can get done before wrapping up the work of the 115th Congress.
With the remains of the 41st President set to Lie in State in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening to Wednesday morning – to then be followed by a state funeral ceremony and burial back in Texas – plans for legislative business were quickly being trimmed back in the Congress.
“Please be advised that – in light of the passing of President George H.W. Bush – votes are no longer expected in the House this week,” read an announcement from the House Majority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
One piece of business will have to be conducted at some point in the House – which is to approve a short term funding measure to insure that a funding lapse does not occur on Friday night, December 7.
As of Monday afternoon, the Senate had scrapped votes through at least Wednesday.
The delay could all but insure that lawmakers are at work even closer to Christmas than first envisioned by GOP leaders in the House and Senate, as the clock ticks on efforts to address a series of legislative matters:
+ Seven unfinished spending measures for 2019.
+ Funding for the President’s border wall.
+ A vote on a final farm policy bill.
+ Flood insurance reforms
+ A special package of tax breaks, knows as ‘tax extenders.’
+ Criminal justice reform legislation backed by the President.
+ A move to stop U.S. military aid to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.
The honors for the late President Bush were also impacting holiday plans at the Capitol, as the lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was being moved to Thursday evening, instead of Wednesday, which will be a day of national mourning.