This week in Congress: Staring down the shutdown threat

H/T to Thomas


WASHINGTON — With a deadline for a new budget deal this Friday, lawmakers will spend the week balancing their negotiations on an immediate fix with their planning for the fiscal 2018 budget.

The current budget extension funding fiscal 2017 programs runs until April 28. Congressional leaders and the White House have sparred in recent days over how to pass a budget plan for the last five months of the fiscal year, thereby avoiding a government shutdown.

Looking past that problem, U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Harry Harris Jr. will testify before multiple committees this week on his budget priorities for the coming year and the recent military moves by North Korea that threaten to destabilize the region.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members will debate a host of changes to veterans’ education benefits, including a controversial proposal to charge future troops for post-9/11 GI Bill access. And House Armed Services Committee members will get their chance to outline their priorities for the annual defense authorization bill at a Thursday hearing.

Tuesday

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50
Asia Pacific strategy
Outside experts will testify before the committee on U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Senate Foreign Relations — 9:45 a.m. — Dirksen 419
Libya
Outside experts will testify on U.S. strategy and policy options in Libya.

Senate Appropriations — 2:15 p.m. — Dirksen 124
Egypt
Outside officials will testify before the committee on U.S. assistance to Egypt and regional security strategy issues.

Wednesday

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2118
Asia Pacific strategy
Adm. Harry Harris Jr., head of U.S. Pacific Command, will testify before the committee on current threats in the Asia-Pacific region, including North Korea.

Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 342
Waste and fraud
The committee will review reports of duplication of federal programs, government waste and possible fraud involving taxpayer funds.

Senate Appropriations — 10:30 a.m. — Dirksen 192
National Guard

Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, and other guard officials will testify before the committee on budget and long-term planning issues.

House Appropriations — 1:30 p.m. — Capitol H140
Closed briefing
Adm. Harry Harris Jr., head of U.S. Pacific Command, will testify before the committee in a closed session on current threats in his region of responsibility and funding needs for his command.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2118
Defense acquisition
Former Pentagon acquisition officials will testify before the committee on improvements to that process and the need for better information management systems.

House Foreign Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — Rayburn 2172
China
Outside officials will testify before the committee on China’s technological rise and implications for U.S. national security.

House Foreign Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — Rayburn 2200
Sudan
Outside officials will testify before the committee on proposals to ease sanctions on Sudan and continued human rights abuses there.

Thursday

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50
Asia Pacific strategy
Adm. Harry Harris Jr., head of U.S. Pacific Command, will testify before the committee on current threats in the Asia-Pacific region, including North Korea.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2118
Member day
House members will testify before the committee on their priorities for the annual defense authorization bill.

House Government Reform — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2154
Border wall
Committee members will hear from outside officials on the value of a wall along the U.S. southern border to ease national security threats.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2172
Syria
Outside experts will testify before the committee on the next steps for U.S. policy in Syria and the broader Middle East.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — Cannon 334
Legislative mark up
The subcommittee on disability assistance and memorial affairs will mark up several pieces of legislation.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2118

PTSD
Health officials from the military services will testify on the latest research and policy decisions related to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury treatment in the military.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2 p.m. — Dirksen 419
Nominations
The committee will consider the nominations of new ambassadors to Senegal and the Republic of Congo.

House Financial Services — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2128
Terrorist financing
Outside experts will testify before the committee on the problem of terrorist financial networks and ways to disrupt them.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2172
Afghanistan
Committee members will hear from outside experts on the resurgence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan and options for continued U.S. intervention there.

Friday

House Armed Services — 8 a.m. — Rayburn 2118
Amphibious warfare
Outside experts will testify before the committee on threats to U.S. superiority at sea and future plans for amphibious warfare strategy.

Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at lshane@militarytimes.com.

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