President George H.W. Bush’s death and plans for him to lie in state at the Capitol with a funeral Wednesday at the National Cathedral are changing the schedule for both Congress and the executive branch of government this week, which is likely to affect the congressional schedule for the rest of the calendar year.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has announced Monday that there will be no votes in the House of Representatives this week due to the mourning and funeral for the late President George H.W. Bush.
Given the House schedule, it is not expected that the farm bill conference report will drop until early next week.
Congress needs to pass an appropriations bill covering several agencies including the Agriculture Department by Friday in order to keep those agencies open. President Donald Trump has been threatening to shut down the government if Congress does not fund the wall he wants on the border with Mexico.
But Trump told reporters on the return trip from the Group of 20 meeting in Buenos Aires that he is open to a two-week extension of that deadline.
“If they [lawmakers] come, which they have, to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it,” he told reporters. If Congress takes the full two weeks, that would advance Congress’s expected departure date for the year from December 14 to December 21.
Leaders of the Senate and House agriculture committees have been hoping to release the farm bill and hold votes on it on the floor of the House and Senate this week, but that schedule could change since it is likely neither the House nor the Senate will be in session on Tuesday and Wednesday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has announced that the House will be in session Monday to consider a resolution to arrange for Bush’s casket to lie in state, but the chamber will not be in session on Tuesday. Ryan has not said whether there will be a session Wednesday, the day of the funeral.
Senate leaders have not yet made a scheduling announcement.
Trump has also announced all government agencies will be closed on Wednesday in honor of the deceased president.
The Capitol Police have announced that the Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda from 5 p.m. Monday through 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Following a private arrival ceremony to include President Bush’s family and members of Congress Monday evening, the Capitol Rotunda will open to the public Monday at 7:30 p.m. through Wednesday morning at 7. (See attached press release for details.)
The Capitol Building will be restricted to only those with congressional credentials beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday to include members of Congress and spouses, invited dignitaries, credentialed guests, and credentialed media. All official business visitors must be escorted by staff from the North and South doors.
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, has been rescheduled to Thursday at 5 p.m.
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