This week in Congress: Defense, VA nominees moving ahead

A week after President Donald Trump announced his new nominee to lead the Defense Department, the commander-in-chief’s pick to take over the second highest role in the Department of Veterans Affairs will have his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

James Byrne, who has served as the acting VA deputy secretary since last August, will testify before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday. His wait to formally take over the job he has been doing has been nearly twice as long as that of Patrick Shanahan, who has been acting defense secretary since Jan. 1.

Together, the moves represent Trump filling two significant military and veterans vacancies, an issue that has raised concerns among lawmakers.

Also this week, Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist will again testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the military’s efforts to reform its financial practices and pass an audit, a promised goal of administration officials.

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Author: Dian Welle