Pentagon & Congress

This week in Congress: Budget season begins

The White House will release its spending plans for fiscal 2021 on Monday, officially starting budget season on Capitol Hill.

Although lawmakers have been pessimistic about the prospects of passing a budget on time — they haven’t met the Oct. 1 deadline consistently in recent years, and have the fall elections to contend with this year — congressional committees will spend the next few months dissecting the White House spending proposal and developing their own.

For the Defense Department, that means a parade of Pentagon officials heading to the Capitol on a nearly weekly basis, offering testimony on their upcoming plans, looming threats and readiness needs.

In his State of the Union address last week, President Donald Trump touted increases in defense spending during his time in office as a key in re-establishing American dominance worldwide. Democrats disagreed, but the line will likely be featured prominently in budget negotiations in coming months.

Tuesday, Feb. 11

Senate Homeland Security — 9:30 a.m. — 342 Dirksen
Cybersecurity
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security and state technology offices will testify on local and regional cybersecurity efforts.

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Afghanistan
Outside experts will testify on progress and challenges for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — H-210 Visitors Center
Minority veterans health
VA officials and outside experts will testify on health care programs targeted at minority veterans.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Major state competition
Outside experts will testify on the Defense Department’s role long-term major state competition.

House Science — 2 p.m. — 2318 Rayburn
Space situational awareness
Outside experts will testify on security issues surrounding U.S. space policy.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Weapons of mass destruction
Defense officials will testify on programs for countering weapons of mass destruction and the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Senate Homeland Security — 2:30 p.m. — 342 Dirksen
Afghanistan war costs
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko and outside experts will testify on ongoing costs of the war in Afghanistan.

House Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 2212 Rayburn
White supremacy
Defense officials and outside experts will testify on evidence of white supremacy groups within military ranks.

Wednesday, Feb. 12

Senate Homeland Security — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Global pandemics
Outside experts will testify on U.S. preparedness for global pandemics.

House Foreign Affairs — 9:30 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Middle East peace process
Former government officials will testify on the Trump administration’s new plan for peace in the Middle East.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — H210 Visitors Center
VA data privacy
Department officials will testify on the security and portability of veterans’ personal data.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:15 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
U.S.-Libya policy
State Department officials will testify on current U.S. policy towards Libya.

House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — H210 Visitors Center
Community care
Department officials will testify on recent updates to the community care program.

House Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 2212 Rayburn
Land-based ranges
Defense officials will testify on balancing land-based ranges with local conservation efforts.

Thursday, Feb. 13

House Foreign Affairs — 9 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Mexico
State Department officials will testify on current U.S. security assistance policies towards Mexico.

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