Week ahead: Senate tries to finish CR — Pentagon waits

Pentagon officials say passage is vital because it would give it flexibility to move money around in the 2013 budget before the across-the-board cuts under sequestration take effect.

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Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urged senators last Thursday to agree to whittle down the list of amendments so the Senate could proceed with the funding measure, saying he would give them the weekend to hash things out with Appropriations leaders.

“We can’t even get senators to agree that we should have votes on amendments until — ‘I want mine if he gets his,’ ” Reid said on the floor. “So we’ve had difficulty on both sides to agree on a path forward.”

The appropriations bill would move roughly $10 billion into Defense operations and maintenance funds accounts that are facing shortfalls.

There are still outstanding amendments that could affect the Pentagon’s budget, including a bipartisan push to reverse the suspension of tuition assistance for service members and a Republican amendment to curtail the military’s use of biofuels.

Once the Senate passes a bill, it will have to be reconciled with the House version.

But the CR isn’t the only thing occupying Capitol Hill in what’s shaping up to be a busy week before the two-week recess.

The Senate Armed Services Emerging Threats subcommittee is holding a hearing on cybersecurity threats Tuesday.

The hearing will feature an open portion with Mandiant CEO Kevin Mandia, followed by a classified closed session with the deputy Director of National Intelligence and deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command Lt. Gen. Jon Davis.

There are two more hearings on cyber issues next week as well: on Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee tackles the subject, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee will examine it Thursday.

The budget posture hearings also continue next week. The heads of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command will appear before Senate Armed Services on Tuesday and then before House Armed Services on Wednesday.

U.S. European Command chief Adm. James Stavridis will also be testifying at the Senate hearing Tuesday — he appeared on the House side last Friday.

Two panels are holding hearings on the conflict in Syria this week. U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford will testify at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday to talk about the U.S. response, and a Senate Foreign Relations subpanel will look at the humanitarian side of the crisis on Tuesday.

The 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War is on Tuesday, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will appear at an event at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday to look back at the war.