Congress enters November with just four legislative weeks left in 2021 but a long list of work to be finished before the end of the year.
Atop the list for military advocates are three items: the defense budget, the annual defense authorization bill and the federal debt ceiling.
The first two require work by the Senate in coming weeks, as drafts of both measures are awaiting full chamber votes. The House has approved their versions, and will begin negotiations with Senate officials once their work is finished.
The debt ceiling issue presents more challenges, as it is likely tied to completing work on the fiscal 2022 budget. But officials have warned that a failure to raise the debt ceiling could have compounding problems for things like defense contracts, military pay and equipment purchases if it is not addressed by mid-December.
Congressional leaders are unlikely to trim any of their planned recess around Veterans Day or Thanksgiving, but could work into late December if the lingering issues aren’t settled earlier.
House Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing
Electronic health records
Veterans Affairs officials will testify on the state of their 10-year overhaul of the department’s electronic medical records.
Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — online hearing
The committee will consider several ambassador nominations.
Senate Foreign Relations — 2 p.m. — G-50 Dirksen
State Department training
Outside experts will testify on reforms and training needed at the State Department.
Wednesday, Nov. 3
House Select Intelligence — 9:30 a.m. — 2359 Rayburn
FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials will testify on domestic terrorism threats and ways to counter them.
Senate Foreign Relations — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
The committee will vote on a series of pending nominations.
House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
State Department operations
State Department Deputy Secretary Brian McKeon will testify on his agency’s operations and planned reforms.
House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon
Department of Homeland Security officials will testify on cybersecurity threats and proposed policy changes.
Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 3 p.m. — 418 Russell
Improving VA-DOD collaboration
Officials from both departments will testify on efforts to better coordinate on medical and benefits issues.
Thursday, Nov. 4
Senate Foreign Relations — 11 a.m. — 106 Dirksen
The committee will vote on a series of pending nominations and bills.
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.