Congress returns to Capitol Hill this week with a host of defense budget work left unfinished as impeachment efforts loom over everything.

Whether the House investigation into President Donald Trump’s handling of military aid to Ukraine stalls those appropriations talks remains unclear. Before leaving for a two-week recess late last month, lawmakers passed a short-term budget extension until Nov. 21. They’ll need to pass another — or a full-year budget — before then to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Defense lawmakers in the House and Senate are also pushing their respective leadership to move quickly on the annual defense authorization bill, currently in conference negotiations. Members of the Armed Services committees are hopeful that work can be completed in the next few weeks.

Both the appropriations and authorization plans for now would give military planners a hefty funding boost for fiscal 2020, something which Trump has repeatedly pressed Congress to back.

Wednesday, Oct. 16

Senate Foreign Relations — 2 p.m. — 419 Dirksen
Brian Hook, State Department special representative for Iran, will testify before the committee on current U.S. relations with Iran.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — H210 Visitors Center
Pending legislation
The committee will mark up several pending bills, including legislation to extend specially adaptive housing grants.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2 p.m. — 419 Dirksen
The committee will consider several nominations for new ambassadors and State Department posts.

House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — H210 Visitors Center
VA clinical issues
Department officials will testify on clinical staffing and procedure issues within VA medical centers.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Officials from the Syria Study Group will brief lawmakers on their findings.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Military installations
Service officials will testify on installation resiliency and potential threats to military facilities.

Thursday, Oct. 17

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon
Outside health experts will testify on potential bioterror threats to the American homeland.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — 303 Cannon
Women veterans
The task force on women veterans will hold a roundtable on interdisciplinary research regarding women veterans.

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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