The final countdown begins for the 115th Congress as members return to Washington this week. There are just a few weeks left to legislate before members head home for the holidays, and there is plenty of work to fit into that short time.
The last weeks of the session will be dedicated to leadership decisions, committee assignments and setting up for the 116th Congress to take over in January. Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy as minority leader ahead of the shift in power to Democratic control. A new Speaker of the House hasn’t been chosen yet, but Rep. Nancy Pelosi is still vying for her old spot.
In veterans’ news, no major decisions have been made about Veterans Affairs’ Committee leadership roles yet. Rep. Phil Roe will step down as chairman of the House VA Committee once the new Congress comes in, but no word yet on who will take his place as chair. Concerned Veterans for America has called on new leadership to keep the momentum going on VA reforms as the transition happens.
Chairman Roe is doing his part to oversee work at the VA while still heading the committee. The Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. on VA’s benefit claims processing policies. This hearing will focus on how the VA develops and implements its policies for training, quality control standards and information technology.
In defense news, the Senate Armed Services Committee has a slew of hearings before the end of session. Of note, the Subcommittee on Seapower will hear testimony on the Navy’s shipbuilding programs at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. The full committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday to question the nominee for assistant secretary for health affairs.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. on U.S. policy toward Syria. Members will focus on U.S. engagement and goals in Syria and the conflict with ISIS.
That’s what’s coming up this week on the Hill. Be sure to stay up to date on veterans and defense news right here on CVA’s The Overwatch!