WASHINGTON — U.S. strategy in Syria and the Middle East will get a closer look from Congress this week as lawmakers try to wrap up their remaining work before the election recess in October.

The oversight comes amid reports that President Donald Trump is approving plans to leave about 2,000 U.S. troops in the region indefinitely as a shield against terrorist cells in the Middle East. Trump had indicated in the past that he wanted to withdraw from the region as soon as Islamic State group fighters were defeated.

Among the hearings on Syria scheduled in Congress’ three-day session this week is on Friday morning before the House Armed Services Committee with Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Karem and Brig. Gen. Scott Benedict, Deputy Director for the Joint Staff.

Lawmakers have until the end of September to reach a deal on a full-year appropriations plan for federal agencies or risk a partial government shutdown in October.

Wednesday, Sept. 12

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2172
The subcommittee on Africa will hear from the assistant secretary of state for African Affairs and outside experts on instability in Ethiopia.

Thursday, Sept. 13

House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — 334 Cannon
Pending legislation
The subcommittee on health will consider a series of pending bills.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
U.S. sanctions
State and treasury department officials will testify before the committee on the impact of U.S. sanctions on foreign adversaries.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:15 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield and other administration officials will testify on Russian influence in Syria and the Middle East.

House Armed Services — 1:30 p.m. — 2020 Rayburn
Army Futures Command
Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Gen. John Murray, head of Army Futures Command, will testify before the committee on the future of the command.

House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — 334 Cannon
Electronic health record
The subcommittee on technology modernization will hold its first hearing, on progress with the VA’s electronic health records project.

Friday, Sept. 14

House Armed Services — 8 a.m. — Visitors’ Center H210
Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Karem and Brig. Gen. Scott Benedict, Deputy Director for the Joint Staff, will testify before the committee on U.S. policy towards Syria.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

In Other News
Load More