- The House Appropriations Committee expects to finalize guidance for a new version of earmarks by the end of this month. Earmarks enable a lawmaker to specify funding for a particular project, usually within their own district or state. The elimination of earmarks has been blamed, in part, for the current dismal state of the Congressional appropriations process. With earmarks, every lawmaker has a reason for voting for the spending bill, even if they do not like everything in it. The elimination of earmarks took away this important negotiating tool from appropriations committee leaders trying to build support for their bills.
- The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing at 1pm on Friday on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ COVID-19 response.
- The House Committee on Veterans Affairs announced committee assignments for the 117th Congress. The Chair and Ranking Member also highlighted their priorities:
- i. Committee chair Rep. Takano (D-CA) said, in the coming year, they must work to account for service members’ toxic exposures during their military service. He also wants to do more to ensure equality in veterans’ access to benefits. That will mean hearing from organizations that represent traditionally underserved communities.
- ii. Committee ranking member Rep. Bost (R-IL) said he wants to focus on improving health services for women veterans, and streamlining and easing the transition process out of the military into the civilian world. He wants to ensure the VA’s implementation of a new electronic health record goes smoothly. Among other priorities, Bost stressed the importance of continuing to work to prevent suicide among veterans.
o Chair: Rep. Brownley (C-CA)
o Ranking Member: Rep. Bergman (R-MI)
Oversight and Investigations:
o Chair: Rep. Pappas (D-NH)
o Ranking Member: Rep. Mann (R-KS)
o Chair: Rep. Mrvan (D-IN)
o Ranking Member: Rep. Rosendale (R-MT)
Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs:
o Chair: Rep. Luria (D-VA)
o Ranking Member: Rep. Nehls (R-TX)
o Chair: Rep. Levin (D-CA)
o Ranking Member: Rep. Moore (R-AL)