Pentagon & Congress

This week in Congress: Rapidly spreading worries about coronavirus

The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus will be the sole focus of multiple hearings on Capitol Hill this week but is likely to be a frequent topic at scheduled defense and veterans panels too.

The illness, which has swelled to more than 100,000 cases worldwide and more than 200 cases in the United States, has forced cancellations of major conferences, closed some defense department schools overseas, and scrambled staff at VA hospitals to update visitation policies, limiting outside guests.

Multiple combatant commanders are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill this week, and are likely to face questions about the impact on their regions as part of their appearances. Last week, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie was asked about his department’s preparations and revealed the first veteran to contract the virus is being treated in California.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week said there are no current plans to close the Capitol building to tourists or members of Congress in response to the spreading illness, but congressional leadership has told members to prepare contingency plans for their offices in the event those plans change.

Tuesday, March 10

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider three nominations: Matthew Donovan to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, William Jordan Gillis to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, and Victor Mercado to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities.

House Transportation — 10 a.m. — 2167 Rayburn
Coast Guard
Coast Guard officials will testify on international missions facing the service.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210
Pending Legislation
The subcommittee on economic opportunity will mark up several pending bills.

House Budget — 10 a.m. — 210 Cannon
Defense Budget
Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Middle East/Africa Missions
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr, head of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Africa Command, will testify on current security challenges in their regions.

House Appropriations — 10:30 a.m. — Capitol HT-2
Member Day
The subcommittee on military construction and Veterans Affairs will hear proposals from other members for the fiscal 2021 budget.

House Appropriations — 1:30 p.m. — 2359 Rayburn
Coast Guard Budget
Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — Visitors Center H210
Pending Legislation
The subcommittee on oversight will mark up several pending bills.

House Homeland Security — 2 p.m. — 310 Cannon
Coronavirus
Outside officials will testify on the federal response and national security threat of the coronavirus outbreak.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Tactical/Rotary Aircraft
Service officials will testify on tactical and rotary aircraft acquisition and modernization in the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Afghanistan
Outside experts will testify on the security situation in Afghanistan.

House Oversight — 2p.m. — 2154 Rayburn
Coronavirus
National biodefense experts will testify on the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak.

House Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 2212 Rayburn
Military domestic violence
Service officials will testify on domestic violence issues in the military and leadership response.

House Appropriations — 3 p.m. — Capitol H-140
Army Budget
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Wednesday, March 11

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
North and South America
Adm. Craig Faller, head of U.S. Southern Command, and Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command, will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Senate Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 222 Russell
Marine Corps Ground Modernization
Service officials will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request and the future years defense program.

Senate Appropriations — 10 a.m. — 138 Dirksen
Navy/Marine Corps Budget
Service officials will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 1334 Longworth
Coast Guard
Adm. Karl Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard, will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
Syria
Outside experts will testify on the security situation in Syria.

House and Senate Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — Dirksen G50
American Legion
Leadership of the American Legion will present their legislative priorities for this year.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Syria
Outside experts will testify on the security situation in Syria.

House Appropriations — 1:30 p.m. — 2359 Rayburn
Servicemember PFAS Exposure
Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, will testify on the ongoing military response to PFAS groundwater contamination issues on U.S. bases.

House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — Visitors Center H210
Women Veterans Mental Health
VA officials will testify on mental health services for women veterans.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Defense Science and Technology
Michael Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, will testify on technology challenges for the military and the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Ukraine
Outside experts will testify on the security situation in Ukraine.

House Homeland Security — 2 p.m. — 310 Cannon
Coronavirus
Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli will testify on national security threats posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

Senate Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 106 Dirksen
Defense Personnel Programs
Thomas McCaffery, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, and other service officials will testify before the committee on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 2212 Rayburn
Military Sealift and Mobility
Gen. Steve Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation Command, will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.

Thursday, March 12

House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Navy/Marine Corps Readiness
Service officials will testify on readiness needs and the fiscal 2021 budget request.

House Appropriations — 9 a.m. — 2362-A Rayburn
Navy/Marine Corps Installations
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russel Smith will testify on quality of life issues, including base facility issues.

House Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — 2212 Rayburn
Missile Defense
Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command, and Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, will testify on the fiscal 2021 budget request.
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