This week in Congress: Getting back to budget basics

this-week-in-congress:-getting-back-to-budget-basics

The leaders of U.S. Southern and Northern Commands will visit Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers step up their annual defense budget work even as they wait for the White House’s official spending proposal.

Typically by mid-March, lawmakers in the House and Senate are in full budget hearing mode, with multiple service officials testifying on future needs and program changes for the upcoming fiscal year.

But with the change in presidential administrations this year, the White House’s budget proposal for fiscal 2022 is expected to be filed in April instead of the normal February document drop. As a result, much of the legislative work surrounding the defense budget on Capitol Hill has been stalled or slowed, except for a few hearings.

The testimony Adm. Craig Faller, head of Southern Command, and Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of Northern Command, before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday marks a shift back towards the normal schedule.

The pair are expected to outline their top missions and potential expense cuts as administration officials reportedly eye a flat or reduced defense budget amid unprecedented emergency spending to counter the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, March 16

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen

Southern/Northern Command

Adm. Craig Faller, head of Southern Command, and Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of Northern Command, will testify on current threats and the fiscal 2022 budget request.

House Oversight — 11 a.m. — online hearing

Afghanistan

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko will testify on financial projects and military waste in Afghanistan.

House Armed Services — 11 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn

Overseas threats

Intelligence and defense officials will testify on global security threats from non-state actors.

House Armed Services — 3 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn

Fort Hood

Members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee will present their findings to the committee.

Wednesday, March 17

House Appropriations — 9 a.m. — online hearing

Military and climate change

Outside experts will testify on the impact of future climate change on military operations.

House Homeland Security — 9:30 a.m. — online hearing

Future planning

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will present future plans for the department.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 106 Dirksen

China

Outside experts will testify on U.S. security policy towards China.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 1 p.m. — online hearing

Veterans employment

Veterans groups will testify at a roundtable with the subcommittee on economic opportunity on transition and employment assistance programs.

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn

COVID-19 in Africa

Officials from the African Union will testify on the impact of the global pandemic on Africa and the need for future U.S. assistance.

Thursday, March 18

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen

Defense budget

Budget experts will testify on the fiscal 2022 defense budget request.

House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing

Veterans group presentations

Six veterans groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Association for Black Veterans, will testify before the committee on their policy goals for the year.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing

Saudi Arabia

Outside experts will testify on human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

House Armed Services — 11 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn

Navy Unmanned Systems

Service officials will testify on unmanned Navy systems and future plans for the technology.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing

Women veterans

VA officials and outside experts will testify on efforts to improve health care for women veterans.

Friday, March 19

House Armed Services — 11 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn

Defense industrial base

Service officials will testify on the ability of the country’s industrial base to support military modernization plans.

About

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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