WASHINGTON — House lawmakers will take up the issue of burn pits this week with a hearing focused on how much is known about troops health effects after toxic exposure to the waste fires overseas.

A series of lawmakers and veterans groups have pushed to revive the issue in recent weeks amid concerns that the problem — well-known to troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — has largely fallen out of the consciousness of the public and elected officials.

More than 141,000 veterans and current servicemembers have enrolled in Veterans Affairs’ Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, which allows individuals to document their experiences and illnesses with the department.

But advocates say more attention needs to be put on the issue to ensure that veterans suffering from rare cancers and other illnesses don’t face a years-long wait for recognition of their injures. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members will look into what other avenues might be available for that type of action.

Tuesday, June 5

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — Dirksen 419
The committee will consider a series of nominations, including Georgette Mosbacher to be the new U.S. ambassador to Poland.

Wednesday, June 6

Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 342
Drone security
The committee will discuss legislation to counter malicious drones potentially posing national security threats.

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210
Pending legislation
The committee will mark up a series of 10 bills and resolutions, including a measure concerning biometric transportation security cards in the Coast Guard.

House Oversight — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2154
Iran nuclear agreement
Committee officials will hear from outside experts on the effects of the U.S. ending its agreement with Iranian officials on the nuclear deal.

Senate Commerce and Science — 2:30 p.m. — Russell 253
International Space Station
Outside experts will testify before the committee on the future of the International Space Station and the impact on the national space program.

Senate Homeland Security — 2:30 p.m. — Dirksen 342
War Powers
The committee will discuss Congress’ role in authorizing war powers and the effect on federal spending in military engagements.

Thursday, June 7

House Veterans' Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — Cannon 334
Veterans memorials
The subcommittee on memorial affairs will hear from VA officials on the current state of operations.

House Transportation — 11 a.m. — Rayburn 2167
Arctic access
Committee members will discuss the U.S. military and Coast Guard role in maintaining maritime access in the Arctic.

House Small Business — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2360
Veteran-owned small businesses
Committee members will discuss resources and available assistance for veteran-owned small businesses.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2200
Outside experts will testify before the committee on human rights issues in Vietnam and the ramifications for regional security.

House Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — Cannon 334
Burn pits
The subcommittee on health will hear from VA officials on the latest research on toxic exposures and current policies governing care of veterans exposed to burn pits.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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