The massive snowstorm that buried Washington and much of the East Coast has forced Congress to reschedule its work week, a move that will create several headaches for military planners.

The storm left more than 2 feet of snow across Washington, D.C., snarling public transit systems and preventing return flights to the capital for lawmakers and their staffers.

Most congressional activities had been scheduled to resume Tuesday, but House leaders have canceled all votes and meetings for the week. That move will force committee officials to reschedule a host of defense-themed hearings, including several on the fight against the Islamic State group and veterans policy proposals.

It will also postpone a House Armed Services Committee hearing, planned for Wednesday, on military health care reform. The deputy surgeons general from the military services were scheduled to testify.

Making changes to Tricare and other military health care programs has been a priority for both chambers, and is expected to be included in the annual defense authorization bill.

Senate officials have postponed their Tuesday votes until Wednesday. The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to host the four service chiefs for a hearing on defense acquisition reform on Tuesday morning. It's unclear if that will still take place.

These delays could have long-term ripple effects on other military business on Capitol Hill.

The pending confirmation of Eric Fanning to be the next Army secretary could be pushed back days or weeks depending on how long it takes senators to get responses to their outstanding inquiries and background information, paperwork that could be slowed by the storm aftermath.

Nonessential staff at the Pentagon and the White House have been given Monday off, as the city tries to clear roads and restore normal services.

One federal event that has not been canceled for Monday is the president’s previously scheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

The visit with wounded troops will take place this afternoon despite the regional weather issues. But the trip will not be open to the press or public, per standard White House policy.

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at

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