WASHINGTON — The confirmation hearing before the Senate for Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be the headline event on Capitol Hill this week, but Congress’ return to Capitol Hill this week also means a flurry of defense-related work before the October recess arrives.
Lawmakers have until the end of the month to settle their appropriations bills, including the defense and Veterans Affairs spending plans for fiscal 2019. The House and Senate could agree to a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown if a full federal budget compromise isn’t reached, but for now they’re optimistic they’ll finish the work.
Defense and Veterans Affairs committees also have their own nominations to handle. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee this week will consider President Donald Trump’s pick to take over the VA’s whistleblower office, and other Pentagon and State Department officials are expected to get their hearings in the next few weeks.
Any work not completed by Sept. 28 will remain unresolved until late November, when both chambers return to town for a few weeks of a lame duck session.
Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
Outside experts will testify before the committee on the value of NATO and long-term challenges to the alliance.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — 334 Cannon
Department officials will testify before the committee on concerns over VA health facilities policies for sterilizing medical instruments.
House Veterans' Affairs — 1 p.m. — 334 Cannon
The subcommittee on disability assistance will consider a series of pending bills.
Senate Veterans' Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — 418 Russell
The committee will consider the nomination of Tamara Bonzanto to be the head of VA’s Accountability and Whistleblower Protection office and James Gfrerer to be assistant secretary for information and technology.
Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — 419 Dirksen
Outside experts will testify on the security and political challenges posed by Chinese defense moves.
Thursday, Sept. 6
House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — 334 Cannon
VA officials will testify before the committee on the department’s specially adaptive housing grant programs.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2200 Rayburn
Chinese drug trade
State and Justice Department officials will testify on issues surrounding illegal drugs coming out of China.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
State Department officials will testify before the committee on U.S. policy and strategy towards Cuba.
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.