Impeachment trial will disrupt some Hill work on defense, veterans issues

Impeachment trial will disrupt some Hill work on defense, veterans issues

The ongoing Senate impeachment proceedings don’t directly involve defense and veterans policy work on Capitol Hill, but chamber leaders are warning that work on those issues will be disrupted somewhat by the demands of the historic trial over the next few weeks.

That includes earlier committee hearings and delays in some nomination and legislative work until early February, if not longer.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the broad outlines of the trial procedures, set to begin on Jan. 21. It’s unclear how long the trial will last, but most lawmakers are planning for at least two weeks of arguments.

National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, left, leaves Capitol Hill on Nov. 19, 2019, at the end of a public impeachment hearing on President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Senators will be required to be present in the chamber starting at 1 p.m. until the end of proceedings for the day, effectively wiping out all other planned afternoon work for the duration of the trial.

As a result, several committee chairmen have already begun rescheduling planned hearings for earlier in the morning, in an effort to keep operations as normal as possible.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said his hope is to “fulfilling the committee’s oversight and nomination responsibilities throughout the impeachment process as we are able.”

Under Senate rules, certain nominations and legislative votes cannot occur while the trial takes place. This week the committee held a confirmation hearing for James McPherson to be the next undersecretary of the Army and Charles Williams to be assistant secretary of the Navy for installations. Those nominations may have to wait several weeks to be cleared.

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