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Week ahead: Tillerson to face grilling over State budget

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Week ahead: Tillerson to face grilling over State budget

Congress returns from its Presidents Day recess next week and that means budget oversight hearings get back into full swing.

In the hot seat this coming week will be Secretary of State Rex Tillerson , who is slated to testify before House and Senate committees.

Much like last year, the Trump administration proposed deep cuts to the State Department and foreign aid budget — 26 percent for fiscal year 2019, compared to the 30 percent cut requested for fiscal 2018.

And also much like last year, Congress has already said that won’t happen.

“A strong, bipartisan coalition in Congress has already acted once to stop deep cuts to the State Department and Agency for International Development that would have undermined our national security,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement this month. “This year, we will act again.”

Expect to hear push back at the hearings, including comments about the military’s support for the State Department budget.

A 2013 quote from Defense Secretary James Mattis when he was the head of U.S. Central Command has become a favorite of lawmakers and other supporters of the State Department.

“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy ammunition,” Mattis said at the time.

This year, than 150 retired admirals and generals and than 1,200 veterans also signed two letters urging Congress against cuts to the State Department.

Tillerson will testify first before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2F0mxcr

He’ll then go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419. http://bit.ly/2BKY1Le

Congressional committees also have other hearings on tap for the coming week.

Adm. Mike Rogers , commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Hart Senate Office Building, room 216. http://bit.ly/2F2bGic

Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, will testify before the House Armed Services Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2sL5NRE

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Women’s Role in Countering Terrorism” with testimony from outside experts at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2F1EgAw

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for the nominees to be assistant secretary of State for international organizational affairs, director of the Peace Corps, U.S. alternate executive director of the international bank for reconstruction and development, and chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2ome7mq

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on Zimbabwe after the fall of Robert Mugabe with testimony from outside experts at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2ChcEX6

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for the nominees to be ambassador to Finland and U.S. executive director of the European bank for reconstruction and development at 10 a.m. Thursday at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2EObxzS

 

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