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Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill
Here’s what’s happening on Thursday, Dec. 6

The Capitol Christmas tree stands in front of the Capitol on Wednesday. The annual tree lighting was postponed from Tuesday until tonight because of the funeral of of President George H.W. Bush. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Trump Joins ‘Presidents Club’ at Bush Funeral. Awkward Moments Follow
45th president face-to-face with past chief executives, 2016 foe he has harshly criticized

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama as they join other former presidents and vice presidents and their spouses for the state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In one of the most-anticipated political moments in some time, President Donald Trump took his place in the front row alongside the “Presidents Club” at George H.W. Bush’s state funeral. The first ladies joined their husbands — but Hillary Clinton did not seem impressed.

The scene put Trump face-to-face with his 2016 general election foe (Hillary Clinton) and several former presidents whom he has sharply criticized since even before he announced his candidacy in 2015. Trump was one of the biggest pushers of the “birther” movement that led then-President Barack Obama to release his long-form birth certificate. The incumbent still regularly pans Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Trump Cancels Putin Meet Amid Ukrainian Ship Seizure, Cohen Pleading
President cites Russia not returning ship and sailors

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their summit in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump announced he has canceled a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin at a G-20 summit in Argentina amid tensions over Russian-seized Ukrainian ships and new revelations about 2016 campaign contacts with Moscow.

Trump first told reporters Thursday morning on the South Lawn of the White House that he and his staff had not “terminated” the one-on-one meeting. But less than an hour later, as Air Force One was in the first hour of a long flight to the South American country, he reversed his statement.

House Democrats Release 2019 Legislative Schedule
Calendar reflects accommodations for members with young families, Hoyer says

House Democrats released the legislative schedule for 2019 on Thursday. Above, Georgia Rep. John Lewis, left, and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer leave the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium Wednesday during a break in the House Democrats’ leadership elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats have released the chamber’s floor schedule for 2019, which includes 130 days in session over 33 weeks and was tailored to accommodate the influx of lawmakers with young families joining the House next year.

“As we welcome a large class of new members, many with young families, next year’s schedule is focused on balancing time in Washington with time for Members to conduct work in their districts and spend time with their families,” incoming House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said in a statement accompanying the calendar’s release.

Capitol Ink | Make Way For Lame Ducklings

Chuck Grassley Opts for Finance Chairmanship
Move kicks off a round of musical chairs in the Senate, opening up a slot for a new Judiciary panel chairman

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, right, will succeed Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as gavel-holder on the Senate Finance panel. That means Judiciary will be looking for a new leader too. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley announced he would take over the gavel of the tax-writing Finance Committee in the 116th Congress, a position he held in the early part of 2001 and again from 2003 through 2006.

Grassley’s move also opens up a slot for a new Judiciary panel chairman, likely South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham

Nancy Pelosi Claims She Would be Speaker if Contest Held Today
‘Oh, please,’ California Democrat says about any need for GOP support

The fate of Nancy Pelosi’s bid to be the next speaker rests in large part on the big freshman class, including about 60 new Democrats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:43 p.m. | Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi claims if the vote for speaker were held today, she would have the support to be elected on the floor, despite the claims of opponents they have the numbers to block her. 

“Yes,” the California Democrat answered simply when asked that question during her weekly press conference Thursday. 

Mitch McConnell Talks About Working With Nancy Pelosi
Two leaders have a long history dating to Appropriations Committee

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is talking about working with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after Democrats flipped the House Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the most likely next speaker of the House are not strangers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and McConnell have had to work together over the years, as long-tenured leaders of their respective conferences. And McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, noted their history goes back many years before that.

For Trump, Pipe Bombs Sent to Opponents Is Ploy to Halt GOP ‘Momentum’ Before Midterms
President dismisses mailed munitions as “‘Bomb stuff”

With an umbrella handle in front of his face, President Donald Trump talks to reporters before leaving the White House on Oct. 15. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

For President Donald Trump, the pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats this week appear to only be about spoiling a Republican Party on cruise control.  That was the president’s message on Friday, when he said media outlets are covering a string of mail bombs sent to leading Democrats and CNN to distract voters from an election cycle he believes favor Republicans.

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics,” he said in a tweet. 

Republicans Condemn Explosive Devices Sent to Clintons, Obamas
Ryan, Scalise among those who quickly responded to threats

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., is a survivor of political violence. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

High-profile Republicans in Congress moved quickly to denounce political violence aimed at Democrats on Wednesday, even as some of their colleagues across the aisle blamed President Donald Trump for working the nation into a frenzy. 

Suspicious packages, potentially containing explosive devices, were intercepted at the homes of the Clintons and Obamas and at CNN’s headquarters. Democratic donor George Soros had a similar package sent to him this week.