Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. (left), and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., right, listen during a hearing on July 16, 2019. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Senate Armed Services Committee officials this week will release a “skinny” defense authorization bill plan as lawmakers grow increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of reaching a compromise on a host of disputed issues with the massive military policy bill.
Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said last week that the move is designed to ensure that a host of necessary items — including numerous military specialty pay authorizations — are passed by the end of the year. But a day later, House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., said a stripped-down version of the measure wouldn’t solve all of lawmakers’ problems.
Negotiations on the broader measure have stalled in recent weeks as Democrats and Republicans have fought over military construction money used for President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall project.
The authorization bill has been a rare point of bipartisanship over the decades, passing for 58 fiscal years. Lawmakers on both sides say they don’t want recent fights over military deployments in Syria and the House’s ongoing impeachment probe to break that streak.
Tuesday, Oct. 29
Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen Nominations
The committee will consider the nomination of Lisa Hershman to be chief management officer for the Defense Department, Dana Deasy to be chief Information officer for the department, and Robert Sander to be general counsel for the Navy.
House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Theories of victory
The Future of Defense Task Force will hear from former defense official Michele Flournoy and former congressman Jim Talent on future military planning and strategy.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210 Pending legislation
The committee will consider a series of pending bills.
House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — Visitors Center H210 Whistleblowers
The committee will hear from VA officials and the VA inspector general on problems with the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
House Judiciary — 2 p.m. — 2141 Rayburn Immigration policy on troops
Outside experts will testify on the impact of current U.S. immigration policy on troops, veterans and their families.
House Oversight — 2 p.m. — 2154 Rayburn Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Pentagon officials will testify on efforts to recover the remains of fallen troops from overseas combat zones.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn U.S. Middle East policy
State Department officials will testify on current administration policies in the Middle East.
Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — 419 Dirksen Nominations
The committee will consider several ambassador nominations.
Wednesday, Oct. 30
House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon Global terror threats
Homeland Security and FBI officials will testify on terror threats facing the United States.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210 Native American veterans
VA officials will testify on services and outreach to Native American veterans.
House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — Visitors Center H210 Blue Water Navy veterans
VA officials will testify on progress on awarding disability benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans.
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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