Week ahead: Clock ticks down on defense funding

Week ahead: Clock ticks down on defense funding
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The shutdown clock is ticking with just four calendar weeks -- and only eight legislative days -- left before government funding expires.

Congressional leaders are downplaying the possibility of a shutdown. And they appear likely to leave President Trump's supplemental defense funding request by the wayside for the time being to avoid one.

The Trump administration requested $30 billion more for this fiscal year for urgent defense needs, as well as $3 billion for a border wall and other homeland security operations.

But Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE (R-Mo.), a senior appropriator who was speaking at the request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), said this week that the supplemental will likely move "at a later time."

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Punting on the supplemental would be unsurprising given that Trump's request would reopen a debate about budget caps for a fiscal year that is halfway done. Democrats, who are needed to pass legislation in the Senate, have also said the border wall funding is a nonstarter.

Despite congressional leadership's assurances that a deal will be worked out before funding expires April 28, defense hawks are launching a full-court press to ensure Congress doesn't fall back on another stopgap spending measure.

Republican Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (S.C.) said this week they'd refuse to vote for a continuing resolution (CR) of any length.

The House Armed Services Committee dispatched an email Thursday with some of the details of what each military service has told the committee will happen with a full-year CR.

For example, the Marines will have to shed more than 2,000 troops, the Air Force may have to ground all non-deploying squadrons on May 1, the Navy will cancel or delay critical repairs on 14 ships, and all but one active deploying Army ground unit will cease training after July 15, according to the committee.

House Armed Services is also bringing in the chiefs of each branch in the coming week to testify on the effects of a continuing resolution.

Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff; Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations; Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff; and Gen. Robert Neller‎, the Marines' commandant, will appear before the committee at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. http://bit.ly/2oiZyS3

Aside from the funding issue, committees have full hearing schedules in their last week in town before Congress' two-week break.

The commander of U.S. Strategic Command will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. http://bit.ly/2oq7TjT

The House Armed Services Committee will hear from outside experts on assessing progress and identifying future opportunities in defense reform, at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2nEMjrX

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have a hearing on using the European Union as a partner against Russian aggression with testimony from outside experts at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2ok02aF

The Senate Armed Services Committee will have a closed hearing on cyber threats to the United States at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Office of Senate Security in the Capitol Visitor Center, room 217. http://bit.ly/2nrSUVo

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee will hold a closed hearing to review intelligence programs and threat assessments at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Capitol Visitor Center, room 217. http://bit.ly/2oq7tde

Top Marine Corps generals will testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the current state of the U.S. Marine Corps at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2212. http://bit.ly/2nEHDlG

The House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging threats will hear testimony from outside experts on Turkey's democracy at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2oHM1Q1

The House Armed Services Committee will hear from outside experts on evaluating the defense contract auditing process at 9 a.m. Thursday at Rayburn 2212. http://bit.ly/2nTmuX8

The commanders of U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Northern Command will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Dirksen G-50. http://bit.ly/2n6NXne