This week: Lawmakers return to mourn George H.W. Bush
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Lawmakers are returning this week as Washington mourns former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States and head of one of America’s most prominent political families.

Former President George W. Bush announced his father’s death in a statement Friday night, describing him as "a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”

Bush, who passed away at 94, will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda starting on Monday, with the public able to pay their respects through 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to a joint statement from congressional leadership. A bicameral arrival ceremony is expected to be held at 5 p.m. on Monday evening.

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Remembrances poured in over the weekend ahead of the formal start of ceremonies that are expected to dominate much of Washington this week as the political world pays respects to Bush, who also served as director of the CIA and vice president.

“George Bush built his life on the premise that loving and serving America was simply a citizen’s duty. He fulfilled that duty time and time again, as completely as anyone could. His legacy will rank among the most distinguished statesmen our nation has ever produced,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Trump advisor Bossert says to test the well, not ill; Senate standoff on next relief bill McCarthy slams Democrats on funding for mail-in balloting Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement on Saturday.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE ordered flags at half mast for 30 days and, in a proclamation, declared Wednesday a national day of mourning. U.S. stock markets will also be closed that day.

Trump, speaking to reporters in Argentina over the weekend, called Bush a “wonderful man” and said he had spoken with former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"He was a very fine man. I met him on a number of occasions," Trump said. "He was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed. He lived a full life and an exemplary life."

A memorial service is expected to be held Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump tweets photo of herself in a mask, encourages Americans to wear them in public 'The Art of Her Deal': Unauthorized Melania Trump biography due out in June The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans with COVID-19 immunity may lead US back to work MORE are both expected to attend the funeral.  

Bush’s casket will then be flown back to Texas, where he is expected to lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, beginning on Wednesday evening. A funeral service will be held at the church on Thursday at 10 a.m., according to a schedule released by the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region.

Bush is expected to be laid to rest Thursday on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Bush, according to a release from the university, will be buried at the family’s plot alongside his wife, Barbara, who passed away in April, and their daughter Robin, who passed away in 1953 at age 3.

Government funding

Bush’s death has increased the chance that lawmakers will use a continuing resolution (CR) to fund part of the government past the Dec. 7 deadline, as Washington focuses this week on mourning him.

Lawmakers have a matter of days if they wanted to get a deal on a yearlong funding agreement, after they missed the Sept. 30 end-of-the-fiscal-year deadline for seven out of the 12 individual appropriations bills.

Trump opened the door to a stopgap bill over the weekend, saying he is willing to accept an extension of up to two weeks, potentially pushing the shutdown fight up against the Christmas holiday.

"If they come to talk about an extension because of President Bush's passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it," Trump said, referring to lawmakers.

Trump is expected to meet with Senate Democratic leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHarris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting MORE (N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls for investigation into reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in DHS custody Wisconsin highlights why states need a bipartisan plan that doesn't include Democrats federalizing elections Pelosi defends push for mail-in voting: GOP 'afraid' to let people vote MORE (Calif.) on Tuesday, according to a source familiar. Though a topic of discussion hasn’t formally been set, they are likely to talk about the looming government funding deadline.

But both sides have remained far apart on a protracted fight on funding for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, increasing their posturing and blame-gaming as they head toward Friday’s deadline.

Schumer has said Trump has two options that could garner the 60 votes needed to pass a funding bill in the Senate: Accept the $1.6 billion that is included in the Senate’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill or pass a CR for the department, which would give Trump $1.3 billion for the border.

"If President Trump wants to throw a temper tantrum and shut down some departments and agencies over Christmas, that's certainly within his power, but he has two more sensible options available to him. It would be a shame if the country suffered because of a Trump temper tantrum. It's the president's choice," Schumer said late last week.

But Republicans believe Trump would veto a bill that only included $1.6 billion, with the White House instead pushing for $5 billion, in line with the House DHS bill. Republicans have floated a two-year plan, which has been rejected by Democrats, that would give Trump $2.5 billion in funding for barriers and border security for both 2019 and 2020.

Saudi Arabia

The Senate is scrambling to an all-out brawl over a resolution that would end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen.

The chamber took a small, but significant, step last week when they voted to advance the resolution — spearheaded by Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyTwo Democrats roll out bill to protect inspectors general from politically motivated firing Zoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus Coronavirus watch: Where the virus is spiking across the country MORE (D-Conn.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' MORE (I-Vt.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeZoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy MORE (R-Utah) — out of the Foreign Relations Committee and to the full Senate.

The resolution requires Trump to withdraw any troops in or “affecting” Yemen within 30 days. But some senators are expected to offer changes forcing lawmakers to figure out what a final bill will look like as they prepare to take a next step of bringing the resolution up for debate — and a potentially raucous floor drama.

Supporters of the resolution and leadership are trying to negotiate a deal that would limit the number of amendments that get a vote or at least force them to be related to Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, senators are predicting a marathon floor session akin to the infamous vote-a-rama that accompany budget resolutions, where any member can force a vote on any amendment on any issue.

“Absent a consent agreement, there is a potential for unlimited vote-a-rama where we could be voting on anything from immigration reform to criminal justice reform,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next COVID-19 relief deal Senate blocks dueling coronavirus relief plans Lawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil MORE (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, adding the free-wheeling votes could be “rather confusing.”

Two Senate aides said Friday that they had not yet reached a deal; one source predicted an agreement could be reached Monday.

Several Republican senators voted to advance the resolution last week because of the message it sent to the administration, instead of its actual substance. Instead, they are expected to try to substitute in their own bills.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerMcConnell, Romney vie for influence over Trump's trial RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring after this Congress, is working to draft a closely held amendment that, he says, would have “teeth” but let Congress “more fully express” itself.  

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBipartisan senators call on China to close all wet markets Bipartisan lawmakers call for global 'wet markets' ban amid coronavirus crisis Trump attacks WHO amid criticism of his coronavirus response MORE (R-S.C.) says he is planning to offer a substitute proposal, which he introduced as a stand-alone bill with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), that would require sanctions within 30 days on anyone involved in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey Oct. 2, including “any official of the government of Saudi Arabia or member of the royal family” determined to be involved.

It would also require a report within 30 days on the kingdom’s human rights record. And to help address the Yemen crisis, the bill would suspend weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and prohibit the U.S. military from refueling Saudi coalition aircraft.

Nominations

The Senate is working through three additional nominations this week.

Senators are expected to take a procedural vote on Monday night on Bernard McNamee’s nomination to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Senate also needs to take final confirmation votes on Jonathan Kobes’s nomination to be a judge for the 8th Circuit and Kathleen Kraninger to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Senate kicked a final vote on Thomas Farr’s district judge nomination to this week after Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeKudlow slams senators who allegedly traded stock before pandemic House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Navy chief resigns amid uproar over handling of aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis MORE (R-Okla.) left D.C. for family reasons. But Farr’s nomination is now effectively in limbo after Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's 12:30 Report: US braces for 'hardest' week yet How much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package MORE (R-S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally campaign to suspend TV ads, canvassing amid pandemic Coronavirus isn't the only reason Congress should spend less time in DC Trump Jr. says he inherited 'Tourette's of the thumbs' from his father MORE (R-Ariz.) said they would join all 49 Democrats and oppose him.

Their opposition leaves Farr without the 50 votes needed to let Vice President Pence break a tie and confirm him. Scott, the only African-American in the Senate Republican caucus, appeared to seal Farr’s fate late Thursday afternoon when he announced his opposition to Trump’s pick.

Farr’s nomination drew intense opposition from Democrats and their outside group allies, who warn that, if confirmed, he’ll use his position as a federal judge to rule against minorities.

Scott pointed to a 1990s Justice Department investigation into Jesse Helms’s Senate campaign for mailing postcards to more than 120,000 North Carolinians, most of whom were black voters, suggesting they were ineligible to vote and could be prosecuted for voter fraud.

The Washington Post published a memo last week that outlined the Justice Department's case. Scott cited the memo as influential to his decision to oppose Farr.

"This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns," Scott said in a statement.

The White House hasn’t yet indicated if it will withdraw Farr’s nomination, as it did after Scott opposed Ryan Bounds’s circuit court nomination.

House Resolutions

The House is slated to vote on four resolutions this week. The first, introduced by Rep. Brian MastBrian Jeffrey MastGOP congressman gets round of applause for remarks praising American strength Bipartisan lawmakers ask NIH for information on 'disturbing' studies on monkeys Overnight Defense: Lawmakers clash during Pompeo hearing on Iran | Trump touts Taliban deal ahead of signing | Trump sued over plan to use Pentagon funds for border wall MORE (R-Fla.), is aimed at condemning the government of Bashar Assad “and its backers for their continued support of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.”

The second calls of the government of Burma to release two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were sentenced to seven years in prison for investigating the country’s military's attacks on civilians. The measure was sponsored Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotPelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing House GOP introduces bill to secure voter registration systems against foreign hacking DCCC to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements MORE (R-Ohio).

Del. Madeleine BordalloMadeleine Mary BordalloThis week: Lawmakers return to mourn George H.W. Bush Guam New Members 2019 Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks MORE’s (D-Guam) resolution aimed at “reaffirming the strong commitment of the United States to the countries and territories of the Pacific Islands region” is also slated to be taken up on the floor.

Rep. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceGil Cisneros to face Young Kim in rematch of 2018 House race in California The most expensive congressional races of the last decade Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia MORE’s (R-Calif.) measure recognizing the importance of the United States-Republic of Korea’s role in stabilizing and providing security in the region is also expected to be taken up in the lower chamber.

Farm Bill

The House could vote on a final version of a massive must-pass farm bill as soon as this week.

Lawmakers at the center of the negotiations announced late last week that they had an agreement "in principle" on the legislation after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations that pushed the bill past the Sept. 30 expiration date for the current farm bill.

“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill. We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO scores, but we still have more work to do," Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsCoronavirus stimulus talks hit setback as crisis deepens Garth Brooks accepts Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song GOP, Democrats hash out 2020 strategy at dueling retreats MORE (R-Kan.) and Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLive coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing Laughter erupts at hearing after Democrat fires back: Trump 'has 5 Pinocchios on a daily basis' Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowCoronavirus crisis scrambles 2020 political calculus Coronavirus stimulus talks hit setback as crisis deepens Democrats call for stimulus to boost Social Security benefits by 0 a month MORE (D-Mich.) and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonSNAP, airlines among final hurdles to coronavirus stimulus deal Pelosi: House 'not prepared' to vote remotely on coronavirus relief bill Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection MORE (D-Minn.), the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committee, respectively, said in a joint statement.

Conaway told reporters late last week that he wants a vote in the House before Dec. 7 to avoid crashing into the fight over funding the government.

In a blow to conservatives, the final agreement reportedly will not include new work requirements in the food stamps program and tighten overall eligibility on who can qualify for the federal assistance. The House-passed farm bill would have required all adults aged 18 to 59 to work at least 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a training program in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Democrats were adamantly against the changes to SNAP, arguing the Senate-passed version did not include the changes and they could be detrimental to the safety net relied upon by low-income earners.

"You don’t always get everything that you want,” Rep. Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonSheila Jackson Lee tops colleagues in House floor speaking days over past decade Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Dreamers-for-wall trade going nowhere in House MORE (R-Pa.) told Erie News Now. “But this is a pretty darn good farm bill.” 

The final version of a bill is expected to include a provision, pushed for by McConnell, that would legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Lawmakers allowed the farm bill to lapse at the end of September largely over disagreements on the welfare reform language.