Pentagon & Congress

This week in Congress: The big defense authorization bill is finally finished

House lawmakers are expected to vote on — and pass — the annual defense authorization bill this week, and the massive policy bill could be headed to the White House for final signature as early as next week.

The bill, which congressional staff is among the largest that lawmakers have crafted in the 58 consecutive years the legislation has been passed on Capitol Hill, features a host of pay and bonus re-authorizations, military housing improvement programs, and personnel issues. Details of what is included in this year’s draft are expected to be released on Monday.

The measure had been stalled for months over issues related to the president’s ability to transfer military construction funding to other priorities, including his southern border wall. But negotiators said over the weekend they found a solution to that impasse, and expect to adopt the legislation for a 59th straight year.

Senate leaders have not said when they will take up the measure, but it could happen later this week or early next week. Both chambers are scheduled to break for the holidays on Dec. 20, if not earlier.

Tuesday, Dec. 10

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Haiti
Outside experts will testify on U.S. policy regarding Haiti.

House Foreign Affairs — 1:30 p.m. — 2200 Rayburn
China
Outside experts will testify on human rights issues in China.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Diversity in Recruiting
Service officials will testify on diversity issues in military recruiting and retention programs.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Iraq
State Department officials will testify on U.S. policy towards Iraq.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Syria
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Miley will testify on the latest troop movements and missions in Syria.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Climate Change
Defense officials will testify on the potential impact of climate change on military operations and national security.

Thursday, Dec. 12

House Foreign Affairs — 9:30 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Member Day
Lawmakers will offer their policy and appropriations priorities for the coming year.

Senate Commerce — 10 a.m. — 562 Dirksen
Coast Guard Arctic Operations
Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray will testify on his service’s missions and challenges in the Arctic.

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