Week ahead: Senate poised to confirm deputy Defense pick

Week ahead: Senate poised to confirm deputy Defense pick
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Defense Secretary James Mattis is about to get his No. 2.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) has teed up a procedural vote for Monday on Patrick Shanahan, President Trump's nominee to deputy secretary of Defense.

That means final confirmation of Shanahan, until last month an executive at defense contractor Boeing, should come later in the week.

Shanahan's road to the Senate floor was rocky.


During Shanahan's confirmation hearing, Armed Services Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) threatened to block the nomination over what he deemed were unsatisfactory answers on Ukraine and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

In written responses to questions before the hearing, Shanahan said he needed more information before deciding whether he supports providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukrainians fighting Russian-backed separatists.

And during the hearing, he didn't offer any specifics on how he thinks the United States should respond to Russia's violations of the INF Treaty.

But after the hearing, Shanahan resubmitted his written answers. In the revision, he said he backed arming the Ukrainians and said the U.S. should be prepared to withdraw from the INF Treaty if Russia doesn't come back into compliance.

After that, the committee quickly approved him by voice vote, and he's expected to be approved by the House.

Once confirmed, Shanahan will replace Bob Work, who has stayed on in the role from the Obama administration until his successor is in place.

All eyes this week will be on the upper chamber as the Senate barrels toward a vote on an ObamaCare repeal and replace bill, but there will be plenty of defense work no Capitol Hill as well.

House and Senate committees this week will also hold hearings on a wide range of other issues.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear from Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in a hearing on the department's reorganization plans and reauthorization bill for fiscal year 2018 at 5 p.m. Monday at Dirksen Senate Office Building room 419. 

The administration is aiming for a massive reordering of the State Department.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to provide veterans education assistance at 7:30 p.m. Monday. 

The Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nomination of Gen. Paul Selva to be reappointed as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on two State Department nominations at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Dirksen 419. 

The Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nominations of the Pentagon's deputy chief management officer, undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment and Air Force undersecretary at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dirksen G-50. 

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will address legislation to combat terrorism at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn House Office Building room 2200. 

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a nomination hearing for six Veterans Affairs Department nominees at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Russell Senate Office Building, room 418. 


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