The Department of Veterans Affairs has been without a Senate-confirmed leader for its benefits operations for more than six months, but that could change soon.

This week, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Joshua Jacobs to become the next under secretary for benefits for the department. He has been performing the duties of the job since last July, but could officially assume the title after a full Senate vote in coming weeks.

The move is significant because it could give VA a Senate-confirmed official in all of its top leadership posts for the first time in more than six years. Veterans advocates have said that filling those posts with confirmed leaders allows for better long-term planning and direction for the department.

No House hearings are scheduled on Capitol Hill this week. The chamber is on recess until Feb. 27.

Tuesday, Feb. 14

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:30 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
The committee will consider nominations for State Department posts.

Wednesday, Feb. 15

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G50 Dirksen
Global security challenges
Outside experts will testify on global threats to the United States and strategies to counter them.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:30 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
Fentanyl trafficking
Officials from the State Department and Drug Enforcement Administration will testify on fentanyl trafficking issues.

Senate Energy — 10 a.m. — 366 Dirksen
Outside experts will testify on the impact of the war in Ukraine on global energy security.

Thursday, Feb. 16

Senate Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — 418 Russell
The committee will consider the nomination of Joshua Jacobs to be Under Secretary for Benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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.

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