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Defense fights before the fireworks

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Lawmakers are hoping to finish work this week on two separate major defense initiatives before heading home for the Fourth of July recess and start their summer outreach back home.

In the Senate, leaders have planned a full chamber vote on the annual defense authorization bill before Friday. The $750 billion measure boasts more than 550 amendments, but how many — if any — will get floor votes remains unsettled.

In the House, lawmakers there have been voting for several days on amendments to a nearly $400 billion spending package which includes the fiscal 2020 budget for Veterans Affairs programs and military construction projects. Last week, the House advanced a broader $733 billion defense spending plan, along party lines.

When lawmakers return from the early July break, they’ll have a little less than four weeks before the extended August recess, putting a time crunch on plans to get defense legislation advanced to at least inter-chamber conference negotiations.

All the budget work needs to be completed by Oct. 1 — just a few weeks after their August return — or lawmakers risk a partial government shutdown.

Tuesday, June 25

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — H210 Visitors Center
VA Whistleblowers
Department officials and outside advocates will testify on VA whistleblower protection rules.

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon
Counterterrorism and artificial intelligence
Outside experts will testify on how artificial intelligence advances could help U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Sudan
State Department officials will testify on the humanitarian situation in Sudan.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:15 p.m. — S116 Capitol
Pending business
The committee will consider several pending bills and nominations.

Wednesday, June 26

Senate Homeland Security — 9:30 a.m. — 342 Dirksen
Border insecurity
Administration officials and outside advocates will testify on migrant movements through the southern U.S. border.

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon
Social media and terrorism
Social media companies will testify on the spread of terrorist ideology through their platforms.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:15 a.m. — S116 Capitol
Pending business
The committee will consider several pending bills and nominations.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — H210 Visitors Center
VA medicine
Department officials will testify on potential barriers for veterans to precision medicine access.





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