Congress had an unexpected week off last week due to ceremonies and services for President George H. W. Bush. Thousands gathered in Washington to pay respects to the 41st president as he lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Votes and committee hearings were postponed, so members will have some time to make up as the 115th Congress comes to an end.
The calendar says just one more week of session for members of Congress, but that’s unlikely given the amount of work to get through before the end of the year. Many of last week’s hearings have been rescheduled, and the looming budget deadline was also pushed back to next week. Members have until Dec. 21 to stop a partial government shutdown.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee rescheduled just one of last week’s hearings so far. The full committee will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday for an oversight hearing on appeals reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA is currently implementing changes to its benefits appeals process laid out in the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act signed into law last year.
A joint hearing between the House and Senate VA Committees on VA MISSION Act implementation has yet to be rescheduled. When this hearing does take place, members will get a status report from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on the progress of implementing the health care overhaul.
The Senate Armed Services Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to hear testimony on Navy and Marine Corps readiness. Both Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller will appear before the committee to discuss their respective organizations’ readiness capabilities.
Also in the Senate, a privileged resolution, S. J. Res. 54, is expected to come to the floor for a vote, having cleared a procedural hurdle two weeks ago. This bipartisan resolution would direct the U.S. to end military involvement in Yemen’s civil war.
As Congress ties up loose ends before the new year, Concerned Veterans for America will keep you up to date on the latest veteran and defense news here on The Overwatch.