Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks on Afghanistan before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill on Oct. 3, 2017. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
WASHINGTON — A week before the official release of the administration’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal, top Defense Department and Veterans Affairs officials will be on Capitol Hill to set the stage for that request and plead with lawmakers to finish work on the fiscal 2018 spending plan.
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin will both testify before congressional committees Tuesday morning, where both are expected to face questions (unrelated to the hearings’ focus) on the still-unresolved spending plan for this fiscal year.
Lawmakers have until Thursday night to agree on another short-term spending plan to avoid a government shutdown.
White House officials are currently scheduled to release next fiscal year’s spending plan the week of Feb. 12. Defense and VA officials are expected to testify on the details of that proposal throughout the rest of the spring.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2118 National Defense Strategy
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva will testify before the committee on the National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — Cannon 334 VA Caregiver Support
VA Secretary David Shulkin will testify before the committee on a possible expansion to the VA caregiver support program.
Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 419 Afghanistan
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver will testify before the committee on the administration’s South Asia strategy, including Afghanistan.
House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2172 Cyber threats
Outside experts will testify before the committee on cyber diplomacy efforts by U.S. officials and threats facing the country.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2100 Pakistan
Outside experts will testify before the committee on the U.S. relationship with Pakistan and instability in the region.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2172 Syria
Outside experts will testify before the committee on the situation in Syria and the effects on U.S. strategy in the Middle East.
Wednesday, Feb. 7
House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — Rayburn 2118 Senior leader misconduct
The services’ inspectors general and vice chiefs will testify before the committee on issues with prevention of misconduct among senior military leaders and accountability for past incidents.
House Ways and Means — 9 a.m. — Rayburn 2253 Veterans and Social Security
The committee will hear from Social Security Administration officials on initiatives to reduce processing times and expedite claims for veterans.
Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 342 Homeland Security Department
Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke will testify before the committee on emerging threats to national security.
Senate Veterans' Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — Russell 418 Pending legislation
The committee will consider 18 pending bills, including new accountability legislation for senior VA executives and several measures dealing with veteran burial rules.
Senate Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — Russell 232A Weapons of mass destruction
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Kenneth Rapuano and U.S. Special Operations Command’s top deputy, Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, will testify before the committee on countering the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
Senate Armed Services — 3:30 p.m. — Russell 222 Army Modernization
The subcommittee on airland will hear from Army officials on service modernization efforts and fiscal constraints.
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.