Washington comes to a halt as nation mourns Bush

Washington comes to a halt as nation mourns Bush

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Empty hall outside the Senate chamber of Capitol Hill the day after Congress was up all night to halt a shutdown overnight, (Photo Doug Christian)
Empty hall outside the Senate chamber of Capitol Hill the day after Congress was up all night to halt a shutdown overnight, (Photo Doug Christian)

WASHINGTON — The death of former President George H.W. Bush has put a hold on business-as-usual in the nation’s capital, at least until after his funeral on Wednesday.

Both chambers of Congress have suspended their legislative agenda until Thursday in honor of Bush, a decision that came amid the looming threat of a government shutdown set to go into effect on midnight Friday.

President Donald Trump has expressed willingness to extend funding for an additional two weeks, holding off what is expected to be a bitter partisan fight.

“If [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,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Saturday.

Citing the former president’s death, the White House also postponed a planned press conference in Buenos Aires on Saturday, promising to instead hold one in Washington at a later date.

A meeting scheduled for Tuesday between the president and Congress’ top Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has also reportedly been put on hold until after the president’s funeral.

The series of delays also has extended to the Supreme Court.

The high court will be closed on Wednesday in recognition of the national day of mourning, rescheduling that day’s oral arguments over Gamble v. United States for Thursday.

Bush, 94, died Friday night.

The former president’s remains will be flown to Washington, D.C. on Monday following a departure ceremony in Houston, Texas.

Bush’s casket will then lie in state in the Capitol rotunda until Wednesday’s memorial service at the National Cathedral.

After, he will lie in repose at Houston’s St. Martin’s Episcopal Church before his remains are transferred via rail to the Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University, where he ultimately will be buried.

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