Republican leaders in both the House and Senate decided to delay the timeline for crucial legislation they hoped on passing before 2019 following former President George H. W. Bush’s death Friday.
The House of Representatives canceled votes for the week after Bush passed away, despite a possible government shutdown and a number of legislative items Republicans hoped to pass before they lose a majority in the House when the 116th Congress begins Jan. 3.
“Members are advised that — in light of the passing of President George H.W. Bush — votes are no longer expected in the House this week,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office said in an email to members, according to The Hill. “Next votes in the House are planned for Monday, December 10, at 6:30 PM.”
McCarthy’s announcement comes as funding for the government is set to expire Friday. However, the House will reportedly pass a two-week resolution to avoid a government shutdown, funding the government until Dec. 21.
Many Republicans are unhappy with Congress’s plans not to work due to Bush’s death, saying since the GOP will not allow the government to shut down, they will accept whatever is in the bill by the Dec. 21 deadline, leaving key issues out of the funding bill, such as the border wall.
“Obviously H.W.’s death wasn’t planned, but it’s politically convenient for a majority that hasn’t shown any interest in using the waning days of their majority to do anything significant. Passing a two-week CR right up against Christmas eliminates any leverage Republicans would have had. Everyone knows they won’t shutdown the government (due to their very public comments to that effect), so by putting a deadline at Dec 21, they’re already agreeing to whatever final text will be at that time,” Rachel Bovard, a former senior hill aide, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Any member that disagrees or wants to amend the final legislation will be told to shut up because they’re ruining everyone’s Christmas,” Bovard continued. (RELATED: House Cancels Votes For A Week After George H. W. Bush Death)
Other Republicans said the GOP failed to fight for a government spending bill that would include conservative ideas, such as funding for the border wall.
“The nation is united in mourning the passing of President Bush, but Congress had no need to delay work two full weeks. Even before the sad news, Republicans have showed no sense of urgency to use the last few weeks of united control of Congress. This is another transparent attempt to give up the fight and pass big spending bills with no conservative victories while voters are rightly celebrating the holiday and not focused on politics,” Wesley Denton, the senior director of Communications for the Conservative Partnership Institute, told TheDCNF.
Denton said if the border wall is not funded, Republicans should be blamed, saying, “If the wall is never built, it won’t be because of Democrats, it’s because Congressional Republicans had no will to fight for the promises they made when they had the opportunity right in front of them.”
Congress already passed 75 percent of government funding through September and President Donald Trump signed off on it.
The next votes in the House are scheduled for Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. In the Senate, a cloture vote on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) nominee Bernard McNamee will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
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