Quick March:

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), the new chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, lost no time in setting priorities for the new Congress, vowing to avoid the marathon legislation session held just prior to the Christmas break by scheduling legislation markups by mid-May. If done, Senate votes on veterans’ legislation would occur in June. Akaka plans to hold his first hearing later this month to examine the joint effort by DOD and VA to ease the transition from active duty to veteran status. At an organizational meeting, he said that he feels “very strongly” that the cost of veterans’ benefits and services for those who have served in the war on terror “must be treated as an ongoing cost of war.”