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House lawmakers cut back public hearings on annual defense bill

House Armed Services Committee leaders will skip subcommittee markups for sections of their annual defense authorization legislation in a break with tradition that could lead to less public transparency on the massive military bill.

Committee officials last week said work on their draft of the bill, which typically stretches over several days and involves every subcommittee hosting a hearing on their priorities, will be condensed this year to the panel’s daylong markup of the legislation, expected to be held the week of May 20.

In recent years, individual subcommittee markups have rarely lasted more than a few minutes, but have provided a chance for members of the public to hear numerous details of personnel, procurement and policy priorities to be included in the sweeping authorization bill ahead of the voluminous hours-long markup.

The House committee’s handling of the authorization bill still remains much more transparent than the Senate Armed Services Committee’s work on the measure, which takes place almost entirely behind closed doors.

The authorization bill is considered must-pass legislation each year for Congress and contains a host of pay authorizations and policy changes that supplement the annual defense appropriations process (which actually supplies funding for those initiatives).

If the House committee adopts its version later this month, the full chamber will likely further amend the draft during floor debate in June.

Monday, May 13

House Veterans’ Affairs — 11 a.m. — University of Iowa
Iowa Veteran Healthcare
Committee members will hold a field hearing looking at successes in veterans healthcare innovation in Iowa.

Tuesday, May 14

House Veterans’ Affairs — 4:30 p.m. — 360 Cannon
VA Technology
Information technology officials from VA will testify on the department’s current challenges and fiscal 2025 budget request.

Wednesday, May 15

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
Arms Control
State Department officials will testify on arms control and deterrence initiatives.

Senate Appropriations — 10 a.m. — 192 Dirksen
Defense Acquisition Programs
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante and service officials will testify on ongoing department acquisition programs.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
State Department officials will testify on the foreign operations budget for Africa programs for fiscal 2025.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 3:30 p.m. — 418 Russell
Veterans Health Care
VA officials will testify on current department health care operations and efforts to expand those options.

Senate Armed Services — 4 p.m. — 232-A Russell
Army Modernization
Gen. James Rainey, head of Army Futures Command, and other service officials will testify on current Army modernization efforts.

Thursday, May 16

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — 216 Hart
Navy Budget
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith will testify on the fiscal 2025 budget request.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Pending Legislation
The committee will consider several pending bills.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:30 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
State Department Modernization
State Department officials will testify on agency modernization efforts and the fiscal 2025 budget request.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — 360 Cannon
VA Law Enforcement
Department officials will testify on operations for the Veterans Affairs police force.

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