Mark Meadows (North Carolina politician)

In photos: Rep. Elijah Cummings lies in state at U.S. Capitol

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus pray over the casket of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus gather around the casket during a memorial service for U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. Photo:: by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Members of the House and the Senate gathered on Thursday in the Capitol's Statuary Hall to pay tribute to their colleague, the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

Why it matters: Cummings, one of the most influential figures in Washington, died last week. He is the first black lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, where he served his Maryland district for 23 years. At the time of his death, he was one of three House committee chairmen leading an inquiry into the impeachment of President Trump.

Lawmakers, civil rights activists reflect on Elijah Cummings' life

Elijah Cummings and Obama
Rep. Elijah Cummings with then-candidate Barack Obama. Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images

President Obama on Thursday issued a statement on the passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee and a fierce civil rights advocate.

"Michelle and I are heartbroken over the passing of our friend, Elijah Cummings. As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he showed us all not only the importance of checks and balances within our democracy, but also the necessity of good people stewarding it. Steely yet compassionate, principled yet open to new perspectives, Chairman Cummings remained steadfast in his pursuit of truth, justice, and reconciliation. It's a tribute to his native Baltimore that one of its own brought such character, tact, and resolve into the halls of power every day. And true to the giants of progress he followed into public service, Chairman Cummings stood tallest and most resolute when our country needed him the most. May his example inspire more Americans to pick up the baton and carry it forward in a manner worthy of his service. Our deepest sympathies and abiding love go to his wife, Maya, his three children, and all those whose lives he touched."