The passing of former President George H.W. Bush, one of America's greatest statesmen who ended the Cold War peacefully, impacts the spirit and schedule of Washington. During the first part of the week, Washington will celebrate his legacy. The former President will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday to Wednesday, when most of government will close as a mark of respect.
The House will meet Monday to consider memorial resolutions and will not be in session Tuesday. The ceremonies will make it unlikely Congress will be able to resolve the remaining 7 appropriations bills needed to keep parts of government open beyond the Friday night expiration of appropriations, making a short-term extension likely. Even with extended time, it is uncertain Congress and President Donald Trump will be able to resolve their impasse over funding for the border wall. The stalemate may require a longer term Continuing Resolution, at least for the Department of Homeland Security, if the President will sign one.
On the other hand, more session days could help pass an agriculture bill conference report that was expected to be filed Tuesday. The extra time probably does not breathe new life into the House partisan tax bill or the bipartisan criminal justice overhaul.
House Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House last week, subject to a vote by the whole House January 3. Democrats appear to have picked up their 40th House seat in the midterms as Republicans netted 2 Senate seats following their Mississippi runoff win Tuesday.
In Buenos Aires, President Trump signed the new NAFTA agreement and declared a 90-day truce with China over tariffs.
The Russia investigation edged closer to the President as charging documents substantiating the guilty plea of his former personal attorney mentioned the President. The President responded by calling his attorney a liar and weak.