Tactical

Austin, Blinken set to make case for White House defense supplemental

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week will make their case to lawmakers for the president’s $106 billion supplemental budget request for Ukraine and Israel aid, even as House members insist the package has little chance of becoming law.

The two Cabinet officials will testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the White House spending plan, which also includes funds for the Navy to produce nuclear-powered submarines under the defense-sharing agreement with Australia and Britain.

Senate Democrats are expected to offer support for the plan, but Senate Republicans have already voiced concerns about the size and scope. And House Republican leaders have been resistant to the idea of additional money for Ukraine.

New House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has promised to take up legislation providing more military support for Israel but has so far declined to say whether he will do the same for Ukraine aid. The White House has said it has less than $5.5 billion in funds to continue transferring weapons from U.S. stockpiles to Ukrainian forces fighting Russia.

Tuesday, Oct. 31

Senate Appropriations — 9:30 a.m. — 106 Dirksen
National Security Supplemental
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will testify on the president’s supplemental budget request for aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 562 Dirksen
Homeland Threats
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other department officials will testify on threats facing the United States.

Wednesday, Nov. 1

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 216 Hart
Ukraine
The committee will hold a closed briefing on current military operations in Ukraine.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 3:30 p.m. — 418 Russell
VA Research
Department officials will testify on research projects and priorities within VA.

Thursday, Nov. 2

Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 562 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Harry Corker Jr. to be National Cyber Director.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — 360 Cannon
Protecting Whistleblowers
VA officials will testify on employee accountability issues and whistleblower protection policies within the department.

Senate Banking — 10 a.m. — 538 Dirksen
Veteran Financial Protection
Outside advocates will testify on rules designed to protect veterans and military families from scammers.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — 360 Cannon
Pending Legislation
The committee will consider 13 pending bills.

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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