Feds to Close for Bush Funeral; Congressional Hearings Postponed

White House flag at half mast

The Federal government will close on Wednesday for a national day of mourning declared by President Trump following the death of former President George H.W. Bush, whose funeral will be held that day at the Washington National Cathedral.

With Congress also shutting down, a few big-ticket Federal IT congressional hearings will be postponed.

The much-discussed House Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Google’s data collection, use, and filtering practices has also been postponed. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was scheduled to appear before the full committee. A new hearing date has not been set.

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities has postponed its hearing on the Department of Defense’s (DoD) use of artificial intelligence. Lisa Porter, DoD’s deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, and DoD CIO Dana Deasy were slated to appear at the 10 a.m. hearing on Wednesday. The subcommittee hasn’t publicized a new date and time for the hearing.

Though an official cancellation notice hasn’t been posted, the Senate Judiciary Committee will likely cancel its hearing examining China’s “non-traditional espionage against the United States.” The committee was going to hear from a wide range of experts, including Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

In addition to Congress, the vast majority of other Federal agency operations will be closed.  “The President has issued an Executive order to close Federal offices and excuse all Federal employees from duty for the scheduled workday on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, except those who, in the judgment of the head of the agency, cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public business,” said guidance from the Office of Personnel Management.

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