House Democrats will craft their version of the fiscal 2021 appropriations bill — including funding levels for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs — throughout the week on Capitol Hill, work that was delayed several months by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Final passage of the budget isn’t likely to take place before the November elections, even though the new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. Lawmakers this week will offer their first full response to the president’s budget request filed back in February, work that had been planned for April until the outbreak postponed most congressional activities.
The move comes one week after the House Armed Services Committee finalized its $740.5 billion plan for defense spending priorities in the annual defense authorization bill. That legislation is expected to reach the full House floor in the next few weeks.
The armed services committee on Thursday will host Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley to testify on concerns related to the use of military personnel in response to nationwide protests last month concerning racial inequalities.
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.