Pentagon & Congress

This week in Congress: Budget hearings present opportunity to grill Cabinet officials

Multiple Cabinet secretaries are scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill this week to discuss the president’s fiscal 2021 budget request, but they’re likely to face heated questions on other topics as well.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper is set to speak at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday. Along with the budget questions, lawmakers are planning on quizzing him about the recently announced cease-fire in Afghanistan, continued U.S. military operations in the Middle East, and the recent firing of the Pentagon’s top policy official.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie is scheduled to speak before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday. He is also bracing for a host of non-budget questions, including the recent firing of the department’s second-highest ranking official and ongoing concerns about his handling of a sexual assault claim at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to testify Friday, but whether he will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee remains in doubt. He skipped out on an earlier testimony request last month, citing travel conflicts.

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — 216 Hart
European/Transportation Command
Gen. Tod Wolters, head of U.S. European Command, and Gen. Stephen Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation command, will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Senate Appropriations — 10 a.m. — 138 Dirksen
Homeland Security Budget
Chard Wolf, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will testify before the committee on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — G50 Dirksen
Disabled American Veterans
Officials from DAV will testify on their legislative priorities for fiscal 2021.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:15 p.m. — 419 Dirksen
North Korea
Outside experts will testify on current U.S relations with North Korea.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Defense Budget
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley will testify before the committee on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Appropriations — 10:30 a.m. — 2359 Rayburn Bldg.
Homeland Security Budget
Chard Wolf, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will testify before the committee on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Energy and Commerce — 1:30 p.m. — 2123 Rayburn
Coronavirus
Department of Health and Human Services officials will testify on federal response to the Coronavirus threat.

Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — G50 Dirksen
Veterans Service Organizations
The committees will hear legislative priorities for the year from officials of multiple veterans groups, including AMVETS, Wounded Warrior Project and Vietnam Veterans of America.

Thursday, Feb. 27

House Appropriations — 9:30 a.m. — 2008 Rayburn
Border Protection Budget
Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Navy Budget
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210
VA Budget
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Appropriations — 1 p.m. — 2358-C Rayburn
VA Health Records
Department officials will testify on ongoing health records modernization efforts.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Coronavirus
State department and HHS officials will testify on federal response to the Coronavirus threat.

House Oversight — 2 p.m. — 2154 Rayburn
Military Hazardous Exposures
Military and outside experts will testify on toxic exposure issues at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan.

Friday, Feb. 28

House Foreign Affairs — 8:30 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Iran
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to testify on administration policies in Iran, Iraq and the Middle East.

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