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Congress to close down, fly Air Force planes to Florida for funeral of Rep. C.W. Bill Young

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Congress will shut down on Thursday, and leaders have told lawmakers the Defense Department will fly them to Florida for the funeral of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died late last week.

Mr. Young was the senior Republican in the chamber, and the move to close down business is a mark of respect for him — though it also means that there will be no floor votes and that many committee meetings have been canceled, cutting short what was already a mostly empty week. The House’s hearing examining the health exchange rollout will continue as planned, however.

After passing a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen government, the Senate went on an 11-day vacation. The House was slated to be in Tuesday evening through Thursday but will now just be in for a day and a half, with the chief business a vote on a public works legislation.

House officials told lawmakers to be ready to leave Washington from Joint Base Andrews early Thursday to make the funeral in Largo, Fla., and then plan to return late in the evening.

A Pentagon spokesman couldn’t say how much it will cost to fly the members to Florida for the funeral.

“We are currently evaluating options for support. Because no aircraft has been designated at this time, I can’t provide any additional information on cost,” said Cmdr. Bill Urban.

The move comes the week after Congress took heat for including a $174,000 payment to the widow of multimillionaire Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who died earlier this year, leaving an estate estimated at more than $50 million.

Mr. Young’s estimated wealth was far less than Mr. Lautenberg’s, and it’s likely his widow, Beverly, will get a similar death gratuity payment, which is a regular occurrence when members of Congress die in office.

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