A C-17 Globemaster lll takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska on April 1, 2019. (Airman 1st Class Jonathan Valdes Montijo/Air Force)
Congress prepares for a two-week legislative break starting Friday with another flurry of budget hearings on the defense and veterans affairs spending plans for fiscal 2020, with an eye towards advancing those issues next month.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., told Politico last week that he is expecting to mark up his panel’s version of the annual defense authorization act in late May. House Armed Services Committee officials have said they expect to hold their annual marathon markup in June.
House lawmakers are set to vote on a Democratic-backed plan this week that would add about $17 billion to the defense budget cap for fiscal 2020 (and more than $30 billion to the non-defense cap) that Republicans are already decrying as insufficient for military needs.
Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs officials are watching their own June 6 deadline for implementation of the Mission Act, which includes a dramatic expansion of department community care programs. They’ll appear again before senators on Wednesday to explain and justify the work on the issue so far.
Tuesday, April 9
Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 342 Dirksen U.S. southern border
Frontline administration officials testify on migration at the southern border.
House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon TSA/Coast Guard FY20 budget requests
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz and Transportation Security Administration chief David P. Pekoske testify.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — 1334 Longworth Markup
The subcommittee marks up the "Homeless Veteran Families Act" and other legislation.
House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2212 Rayburn Special Operations FY20 budget request
Testimony from Mark Mitchell, principal deputy assistant Defense secretary for special operations and low intensity conflict, and Gen. Richard D. Clarke, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn Full Committee Markup
The committee marks up the “Taiwan Reassurance Act”, "Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Act” and other proposed legislation.
House Appropriations — 2 p.m. — Capitol H-140 Army FY20 budget request
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley testifies on the in the Army’s budget request.
House Homeland Security — 2 p.m. — 310 Cannon Climate Change
Outside experts testify on homeland security impacts of a changing climate.
House Appropriations — 2 p.m. — 2008 Rayburn Member Day
Members of Congress testify on their priorities for the FY20 homeland security appropriations bill.
House Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn FY20 defense authorization
Defense and energy officials testify on priorities for atomic energy defense, nonproliferation, safety and environmental management.
Senate Appropriations — 2:30 p.m. — 138 Dirksen State and Foreign Operations FY20 appropriations
Officials will testify on the fiscal 2020 budget request.
Senate Appropriations — 2:30 p.m. — 124 Dirksen Military Construction/Veterans Affairs FY20 appropriations
Officials will testify on the fiscal 2020 budget request.
Senate Budget — 2:30 p.m. — 608 Dirksen Defense Department FY20 budget request
Acting deputy defense secretary David L. Norquist testifies.
Senate Armed Services — 3 p.m. — 232A Russell Air Force Modernization
Testimony from William B. Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics; Lt. Gen. Mark D. Kelly, deputy chief of staff for operations, and Lt. Gen. Timothy G. Fay, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements.
Wednesday, April 10
House Appropriations — 9 a.m.— Capitol H-140 Member Day
Members of Congress testify on their priorities for FY20 defense appropriations.
Senate Foreign Relations — 9:15 a.m. — 419 Dirksen State Department FY20 budget request
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies.
Senate Appropriations — 10 a.m. — 138 Dirksen National Guard/Reserve FY20 budget
Service officials will testify on the fiscal 2020 budget proposal.
Senate Armed Services — 10 a.m.— 232A-Russell Marine Corps Modernization
Testimony from Navy and Marine Corps acquisitions officials.
House Armed Services — 10 a.m.— 2118 Rayburn Navy FY20 budget request
Testimony from Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.
Senate Veterans' Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — 418 Russell VA MISSION Act implementation
Officials from the department will testify on the June 6 deadline for the expansion of veterans community care programs.
Thursday, April 11
Senate Armed Services — 9:30 — G50 Dirksen Space Force
Testimony on the administration’s Space Force proposal from Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan, Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and United States Strategic Command’s chief, Gen. John E. Hyten.
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.
Joe Gould is senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.
Despite repeated warnings from lawmakers and uniformed Pentagon leaders that a full-year continuing resolution will hurt national security, some in the defense industry are still worried that budgetary route is a possibility.
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