House appropriators will unveil their initial plans for fiscal 2023 spending this week while Senate lawmakers prepare to spend nearly $300 billion to better compensate veterans who suffered toxic exposures during their time in the ranks.
The Senate is expected early this week to advance their revision of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, a package of benefits and medical care expansions that is estimated to total $278 billion over the next decade and benefit as many as one in every five living veterans today.
The House will have to vote on the package again later this month before it can head to the president to become law. But Democratic leaders in that chamber have already signaled support for the changes, indicating the legislation could be finalized before the July 4 recess.
Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee will start holding its section-by-section markup of the fiscal 2023 budget on Wednesday.
Work on the defense portion of the bill will take place behind closed doors, but the Veterans Affairs budget — the White House asked for more than $300 million for the department next year — will be discussed in a public forum on Wednesday afternoon.
Senate Armed Services Committee members will also mark up their initial draft of the annual defense authorization bill this week, but most of that work is also scheduled to take place out of the public eye. A final compromise draft is expected to be released by the end of the week.
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.