Updated: 4:50 p.m. | House GOP leaders announced Tuesday afternoon they would end the week's legislative business Thursday in an effort to allow members more time to travel to Charleston, S.C., to participate in funeral proceedings for the nine victims of last week's church massacre.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation to Charleston on Friday, he said in a statement later in the day.
"The people’s House continues to keep the people of Charleston in our prayers as they mourn such senseless loss," Boehner said.
With first votes of the week not scheduled until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night and House floor proceedings canceled for Friday, the chamber will be in session just one full day before the weeklong July Fourth recess.
Lawmakers had anticipated completing the sixth appropriations bill and sending the package of related Trade Promotion Authority bills to the president before it was time to go home for the district work period.
But the decision to cancel Friday business is another sign Congress is taking seriously its responsibility to have a voice in the wake of a white man's fatal shooting last week of nine black parishioners attending a service at the Mother Emanuel AME Church.
Members of Congress are also starting to weigh in on whether the South Carolina capitol should continue to fly the Confederate flag. Even Boehner issued a statement Monday evening standing behind efforts to take down what many consider a symbol of hate tied to support of slavery during the Civil War.
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