Congress poised to pass annual defense authorization bill this week

by Tommy Grant

House and Senate lawmakers expect to pass the annual defense authorization bill this week in one of their last legislative actions of the year.

Congressional negotiators announced a compromise on the massive defense budget policy bill last week. The $874.2 billion measure includes provisions for a 5.2% pay raise for troops in 2024 and a host of procurement priorities for fiscal 2024.

The measure is expected to advance with bipartisan support. White House officials protested a host of social issues included in the military legislation after House Republicans passed their draft last summer, but most of those provisions — things like changes to military abortion access policies and limits on military transgender medical care — were removed from the final compromise.

Both chambers are scheduled to wrap up their 2023 work by Dec. 15. The authorization bill has been advanced through Congress for more than 60 consecutive years.

Tuesday, Dec. 12

Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 562 Dirksen
Coast Guard Sexual Assaults
Coast Guard Academy officials will testify on allegations of sexual assault at the institution.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — 360 Cannon
Suicide Prevention Grants
Veterans Affairs officials will testify on their suicide prevention grant programs.

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon
Cybersecurity
Homeland security officials will testify on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection.

House Transportation — 10 a.m. — 2167 Rayburn
FBI headquarters
Federal officials will testify on the selection of the new site for FBI headquarters.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
F-35 Program
William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition, and other defense officials will testify on the F-35 acquisition program.

House Transportation — 2 p.m. — 2167 Rayburn
Coast Guard Missions
Service officials will testify on current missions and future challenges.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Visitors Center H210
Anti-Semitism in Europe
Outside experts will testify on rising levels of anti-semitism in Europe.

Wednesday, Dec. 13

House Financial Services — 9 a.m. — 2128 Rayburn
Iran
Administration officials will testify on financial sanctions against Iran.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210
Pending Business
The committee will consider 11 pending measures.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Military Recruiting
Service officials will testify on recruiting challenges and shortfalls.

Senate Judiciary — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 226
Pending nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations.

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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