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House cancels votes for the week as Washington mourns Bush’s death

December 3, 2018

The House is not expected to hold any votes for the rest of the week, GOP leaders announced Monday, as Washington turns its attention to the memorial services for former President George H.W. Bush.

He will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Monday through Wednesday.

A memorial service at Washington National Cathedral is also scheduled to take place Wednesday, to be followed by a service and burial in Texas on Thursday.

The Senate is scheduled to gavel in on Monday afternoon, but no votes are expected to be held until at least Wednesday.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Charles E. Schumer are also asking the White House to postpone a meeting they were to have Tuesday with President Trump in light of the events surrounding Mr. Bush’s funeral, according to a Democratic aide.

Lawmakers are facing an end-of-week deadline to pass new 2019 spending bills and avert a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Congress has already passed and Mr. Trump has signed legislation to fund roughly 70 percent to 75 percent of the approximately $1.2 trillion federal discretionary budget for 2019.

That means regardless of what happens this week, agencies such as the Pentagon, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs are fully funded through September.

But funding for the outstanding departments, which include the IRS, NASA and homeland security, will lapse if Congress doesn’t act by the end of the week.

Federal employees deemed “essential,” such as Border Patrol agents, would still report to work, though they could face delays in their pay. Others could be furloughed.

Negotiators have reported progress on six of the remaining seven individual bills, but are still battling over funding for Mr. Trump’s desired U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Mr. Trump says he wants $5 billion for wall money in line with what House appropriators have written into their DHS funding bill.

Democrats say he needs to accept the $1.6 billion for border security that senators include in their 2019 DHS spending bill.

Lawmakers are now talking about approving another stopgap funding bill to keep the rest of the government running past Friday, which would give them more time to negotiate.

If no members object, the House and Senate can bypass procedural hurdles to speed measures through.

An aide said that while House Democrats favor a one-week stopgap bill, they would likely not object to passing a two-week bill via unanimous consent.

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