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Stories by Connor O'Brien:

Congress Flatlines VA Construction Budget

May 19, 2015

Congressional consternation with the Department of Veterans Affairsí handling of large construction projects has been stewing for some time, and 2015 appears to be the year lawmakers intend to put their feet down.

Deadline Puts Focus on Denver VA Hospital Project

May 19, 2015

As if Congress doesnít have enough to do before its Memorial Day recess, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has warned lawmakers that unless they authorize more money by next week for building the new veterans hospital in Denver, the project will probably come to a halt.

House Rules Tees Up 135 Defense Authorization Amendments

May 14, 2015

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday night allowed for 135 amendments to be offered to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, including a proposal backed by conservative Republicans that would strip immigration language, and could be crucial to winning floor passage as the typically bipartisan legislation loses some high profile Democratic support.

Back in BRAC: Advocates Say It's Been Too Long

April 28, 2015

Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, was trying again this week to persuade his colleagues that they should allow a round of military base closings and realignments in the interest of saving money.

Deal Reached to Soften Iran Bill's Terrorism Language

April 14, 2015

Leading lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee appear to have reached a compromise to dilute some provisions of major Iran legislation ahead of this afternoon's markup.

The announcement came on the heels of a direct appeal to senators from Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz, who visited Capitol Hill this morning to chip away at the legislationís chances of securing a veto-proof majority.

Among the anticipated changes to the bill would be removing controversial language that tying Iranís continued support of terrorism to receiving relief from congressional sanctions as part of a final international nuclear agreement. That certification requirement drew particular ire from Democratic lawmakers and the White House.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who leads the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters his sense is "we're moving toward a strong support in committee, but again in this business you never count your chickens before they hatch."

GOP Senators Seek to Put Focus Back on VA Scandal

Jan. 29, 2015

A group of Republican senators hopes to return attention to accountability issues at the Veteransí Affairs Department that have disappeared from the headlines.

Schiff Named Top Democrat on Intelligence Panel

Jan. 8, 2015

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that California Democrat Adam B. Schiff will be the next ranking member on the Intelligence Committee.

VA Settles With Three Phoenix Whistle-Blowers

Sept. 29, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reached settlements with three individuals who worked at the agency's medical center in Phoenix and complained that they were subjected to retaliation for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing.

Lawmakers Disagree on Discretionary Defense Cap

Sept. 16, 2014

As is typical in the defense authorization process, House and Senate lawmakers made differing choices over key policy and military hardware issues. Both bills, however, would adhere to the $514 billion discretionary cap for fiscal 2015 Pentagon base spending established by the Ryan-Murray budget.

Defense Authorization Again Headed Toward Last-Minute Dealmaking

Sept. 16, 2014

It was probably wishful thinking on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reidís part when he added floor action on the annual defense policy bill to his crowded to-do list for the abbreviated September session.

House Panels Act on Lerner Resolutions

July 16, 2014

Two House panels swept aside Wednesday resolutions that would require the Pentagon and the Justice Department to produce any emails in its possession from embattled former IRS official Lois Lerner.

House Passes Defense Authorization, Despite Veto Threat

May 22, 2014

A broad and familiar coalition of Republicans and Democrats came together Thursday to pass an annual Pentagon policy bill, with House GOP leadership largely ducking some of the more contentious debates and amendments related to the National Defense Authorization Act.

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