House lawmakers moving ahead on defense, VA budget bills

by Vern Evans

House officials plan to start floor consideration of their Veterans Affairs appropriations measure this week while also moving ahead on their Defense Department funding plans, pushing their Senate colleagues to speed up work on the budget issues.

The VA budget bill was passed in a Republicans-only vote in the House Appropriations Committee on May 23. It’s typically one of the first appropriations measures passed annually by the chamber, despite concerns this year from Democrats over social issues added to the funding measure.

The Defense Department’s budget plans could be before the full chamber in the next few weeks as well, with House Appropriations Committee leaders anticipating a panel vote on the funding outline Wednesday.

Moving both this week would give House leaders a chance to promote their chamber as ahead of the curve on the critical legislation, since neither measure has advanced past the committee stage in the Senate. However, even with early action, passage of the final budget bills is not expected until fall at the earliest.

Tuesday, June 4

House Appropriations — 8:30 a.m. — Capitol H-140
Homeland Security Bill
Committee members will mark up their draft of the Homeland Security appropriations plan for fiscal year 2025.

House Appropriations — 10 a.m. — Capitol H-140
State-Foreign Operations Appropriations
Committee members will mark up their draft of the State Department appropriations plan for fiscal year 2025.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10:15 a.m. — 360 Cannon
Improper Bonuses
VA Secretary Denis McDonough will testify on improper bonuses given to senior department officials last year.

House Foreign Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — 2200 Rayburn
Foreign Assistance Grants
Former State Department officials will testify on issues with the agency’s foreign assistance grants process.

House Homeland Security — 2 p.m. — 310 Cannon
Chinese Maritime Domain Threats
Outside experts will testify on threats posed by Chinese agencies to American Pacific operations.

Wednesday, June 5

House Appropriations — 8 a.m. — Capitol H-140
Defense Appropriations
Committee members will mark up their draft of the Defense Department appropriations plan for fiscal year 2025.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Improving Caregivers Services
Department officials will testify on efforts to improve services for veterans and their caregivers.

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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