Military advocates will be focused this week on Wednesday’s Senate Veterans’ Affairs hearing on caregiver support efforts, after significant criticism of plans to scale back stipends for families of injured veterans.

Veterans Affairs officials announced last fall that they would review “legacy” participants of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to see if they qualify under updated guidelines. But families affected by the change have accused VA officials of simply working to trim the number of participants in the program, causing significant hardship for them.

At issue are thousands of dollars a month in support stipends for veterans too injured to live on their own but healthy enough to avoid institutionalization.

The hearing is scheduled for less than a week before the administration unveils its budget request for fiscal 2023, which will likely include a significant increase for Veterans Affairs programming again. Whether lawmakers will support that as families complain about program cutbacks remains unclear.

Tuesday, March 22

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including William LaPlante to be Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Erik Raven to be Under Secretary of the Navy.

Wednesday, March 23

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — Capitol S116
Pending business
The committee will consider several pending nominations and legislative items.

Senate Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — 222 Russell
Western Hemisphere
Defense officials will testify on competition and security cooperation in the Western Hemisphere.

Senate Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — 418 Russell
Caregiver assistance
VA officials and outside advocates will testify on upcoming changes to the department’s caregiver support programs.

Thursday, March 24

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Northern and Southern Command
Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command, and Gen. Laura Richardson, head of U.S. Southern Command, will testify on current operations with their regions and needs in the fiscal 2023 budget.

Senate Foreign Relations — 11 a.m. — online hearing
State Department officials will testify on U.S. posture regarding Taiwan.

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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