- The Washington Times - Monday, 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.

President Trump announced that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning. Federal employees are excused from work.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer are also asking the White House to postpone a meeting they were to have with Mr. Trump on Tuesday 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 midnight Friday.

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 — and has indicated that he could try to orchestrate a partial shutdown if he doesn’t get it.

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.

Though Mr. Trump has been firm in his demands for $5 billion in wall money, he indicated over the weekend he’d be open to delaying the shutdown showdown beyond this week in light of Mr. Bush’s death.

“If they come — which they have — to talk about an extension because of President Bush’s passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One.

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