Week ahead: Tillerson to face grilling over State budget

Week ahead: Tillerson to face grilling over State budget
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Congress returns from its Presidents Day recess this 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 TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe West must deter aggression from tyrants better than it did last century Hillicon Valley — Blinken unveils new cyber bureau at State Blinken formally announces new State Department cyber bureau MORE, 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 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.

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"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 RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceBottom line Bottom line California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success MORE (R-Calif.) said in a statement this month. "This year, we will act again."

Expect to hear more pushback at the hearings, including comments about the military's support for the State Department budget.

A 2013 quote from Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump's 'Enemies List' — end of year edition The US can't go back to business as usual with Pakistan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike MORE 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 more ammunition," Mattis said at the time.

This year, more than 150 retired admirals and generals and more 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.

He'll then go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419. 

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

Adm. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersWashington's playing with a weak hand in the Ukraine crisis House GOP members introduce legislation targeting Russia over Ukraine Corporations seek to rebuild bridges with GOP objectors ahead of midterms MORE, 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. 

Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, will testify before the House Armed Services Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. 

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. 

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 Senate Office Building, room 419. 

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. 

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. 

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