Congress returns to town this week without immediate deadlines for the federal budget or raising the country’s debt ceiling. But end of the year deadlines for that work to be finished remain at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds.

Senate appropriators have yet to officially release their plans for the fiscal 2022 defense budget, but lawmakers have hinted that could come sometime this week.

Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Committee members had hoped to bring their draft of the annual defense authorization bill to the chamber floor this week, but Senate leadership still has yet to announce a timeline on that work.

The House has advanced their plans for both the authorization and appropriations bills, but still faces weeks of negotiations on both after the Senate completes their work. That leaves a small window for lawmakers to finalize both measures before the end of the year, while still dealing with other priorities like the president’s sweeping infrastructure plan.

Tuesday, Oct. 19

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m.-- G-50 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider several nominations, including Alexandra Baker to be Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:15 p.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Pending bills
The committee will consider several pieces of pending legislation.

Senate Commerce — 2:30 p.m. — 253 Russell
Coast Guard
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz will testify before the committee on the state of the service.

Wednesday, Oct. 20

Senate Foreign Relations — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen
Pending bills
The committee will consider several pieces of pending legislation and review several nominations, including Nicholas Burns to be U.S. ambassador to China and Rahm Emanuel to be U.S. ambassador to Japan.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing
Pacific islands
Outside experts will discuss the strategic importance of the Pacific Ocean.

House Transportation — 10 a.m. — 2167 Rayburn
Coast Guard
Coast Guard officials will testify on the state of the service.

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing
Pending bills
The committee will consider several pieces of pending legislation.

House Science — 10 a.m. — online hearing
Space Nuclear Propulsion
Outside experts will testify on accelerating deep space travel with nuclear propulsion methods.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2 p.m. — 419 Dirksen
Nominations
The committee will consider the nomination of Pete Hass to be U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh.

Senate Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — 418 Russell
Pending business
The committee will consider several pieces of legislation and pending nominations.

Thursday, Oct. 21

House Appropriations — 10 a.m. — online hearing
VA electronic health records
VA Deputy Secretary Donald Remy will testify on the department’s electronic health records modernization program.

Senate Commerce — 10 a.m. — 253 Russell
NASA
Former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other outside experts will testify on civil and commercial space programs.

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Pending bills
The committee will consider several pieces of pending legislation.

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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