Columns

All Votes Off in the House This Week Amid Shutdown Threat

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) conduct a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Nov. 28, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — House Republicans canceled a week’s worth of lame-duck votes four weeks before they lose the majority in the lower chamber.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) alerted lawmakers that “in light of the passing of President George H.W. Bush votes are no longer expected in the House this week.”

Bush’s casket left Houston on Air Force One today to be flown to Joint Base Andrews, and his body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol through Wednesday. That morning is his funeral at Washington National Cathedral, where he will be eulogized by Bush 43, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and historian Jon Meacham.

His body will then be flown back to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where Barbara Bush’s funeral was held in April. On Thursday, his casket will travel by train to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum to be interred next to Barbara and their daughter Robin.

On Friday, before Bush passed away at age 94, McCarthy announced that the House had a full plate this week, including bills on human rights, tribal energy rights, Secret Service overtime pay, veterans benefits and healthcare. The House also left open consideration of the still-pending Farm Bill and legislation to avert a government shutdown.

Government funding is expected to run out Friday, and President Trump canceled a planned Oval Office meeting this week with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to keep the government open.

The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on a short-term funding bill — two weeks is the expected timeframe — to allow talks to continue until closer to Christmas.

The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump meeting is expected to take place at a later date.

“In the Congress, my colleagues and I knew President Bush as a gentleman of the highest integrity and deepest patriotism,” Pelosi said Friday. “It was a privilege to work with him and witness his firm commitment to ensuring America lived up to our Founders’ promise of hope and freedom.”