Now that Congress passed a short-term budget to avoid a government shutdown, the focus on Capitol Hill turns to when a long-term budget deal might be reached.

On Thursday, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on defense, said that he expects the initial version of the fiscal 2022 Defense Department funding plan to be released around Oct. 15. That could jump start work on the budget, which has to be finished by Dec. 3.

House lawmakers have already begun moving their version of the appropriations bill, but it’s almost $30 billion below what is outlined in the annual defense authorization bill.

If Tester’s panel goes with the higher $740 billion top line for military spending, it will likely force House appropriators to go along with funding defense at the higher level — above what White House officials have asked for — to ensure the budget can get done without further delay.

Tuesday, Oct. 5

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Gabriel Camarillo to be under secretary of the Army.

Senate Banking — 9:45 a.m. — 538 Dirksen
Afghanistan
Outside experts will testify on the impact of the Taliban takeover on U.S. aid and investment in Afghanistan.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 106 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Mallory Stewart to be assistant secretary of state.

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — online hearing
Afghanistan
Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and other outside officials will testify on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — online hearing
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending ambassador nominations.

Wednesday, Oct. 6

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — online hearing
Afghanistan
John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, will testify on lessons learned from Afghanistan.

Senate Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — 418 Russell
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations.

Thursday, Oct. 7

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Brenda Fulton to be assistant secretary of Defense for manpower.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing
VA electronic health records
Department officials will give an update on progress with health record modernization efforts.

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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