CIA Director Leon Panetta testifies during a hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee early in 2010. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong/GETTY IMAGES)

The House is out of session this week, while the Senate is back in town after a week-long recess. Bipartisan congressional leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden in the fifth round of their deficit-reduction talks.

Much of the Senate’s week ahead on the floor remains to be seen – so far all that’s on the schedule is a vote Monday evening on the nomination of Donald Verrilli Jr. to serve as U.S. solicitor general.

Two Senate hearings later this week will be closely watched. On Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee; President Obama is seeking a two-year extension of Mueller’s 10-year term. CIA Director Leon Panetta, whom Obama has tapped to succeed outgoing Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, will testify Thursday morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And then there’s the question of Libya.

The House last week approved a resolution by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) chastising Obama for not seeking congressional approval for the NATO-led Libya mission, which is now on its 79th day. The House resolution gives Obama two weeks to make his case to Congress, and some lawmakers have suggested they may seek to cut off funding for the operation if they are not satisfied with the administration’s answers.

The bipartisan discontent with U.S. operations in Libya has been less pronounced in the Senate than in the House, however. As of last month, a bipartisan group of senators was drafting a nonbinding resolution approving the “limited use of military force” in Libya, a move the Obama administration has endorsed.

That resolution has yet to see a vote, though, and Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, penned an op-ed in today’s Post calling on Obama to “take the lesson from the House vote, retract his endorsement of the Senate resolution and propose a joint resolution with the force of law.” Will the op-ed from Lugar, who has been one of the earliest and most vocal critics of U.S. operations in Libya, sway other senators?

A closer look at the week ahead:


The Senate is in at 2 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., a cloture vote is expected on the nomination of Donald Verrilli Jr. to be U.S. solicitor general.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: Former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) speaks at a Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan hearing on U.S. contingency operations in Southwest Asia.

10 a.m.: Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, delivers remarks at a conference on “The Evolution of Regulation: Lessons and Opportunities” at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.

1:15 p.m.: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks at an international monetary conference in Atlanta, Ga. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the same gathering at 3:45 p.m.


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting at the St. Regis Hotel.

10 a.m.: The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Revenues.”

10 a.m.: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on “Drowning in Debt: Financial Outcomes of Students at For-Profit Colleges.”

Noon: Gen. William Caldwell, commander of the the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, discusses “the U.S. and NATO investment in the Afghan National Security Forces” at a Council on Foreign Relations event moderated by ABC News’ Jon Karl.

2:30 p.m.: The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence holds a closed hearing.

3 p.m.: Former Congressional Budget Office Directors Alice Rivlin, Robert Reiuschauer and Douglas Holtz-Eakin discuss “Tackling the Federal Deficit and Debt: Status Report” at a University of Maryland event in 210 Cannon House Office Building.


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

8 a.m.: The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds its 2011 Global Security Forum. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn speaks at 9:15 a.m., followed by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, former NSA Director Michael Hayden and others at 9:30 a.m; and former national security adviser Jim Jones at 11:15 a.m.

8:30 a.m.: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivers a speech on “A Conservative Constitutional Foreign Policy” at the School of Advanced International Studies.

9:30 a.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Ryan Crocker to serve as ambassador to Afghanistan.

9:30 a.m.: Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) discuss “congressional support for a national infrastructure bank” in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

10 a.m.: FBI Director Robert Mueller and others testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on President Obama’s request to extend Mueller’s term until 2013.

10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee marks up legislation including S.183, the “Deepwater Horizon Survivors’ Fairness Act.”

11:30 a.m.: Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) speak at a forum on deficit reduction and the debt ceiling at the Renaissance Hotel.

2:30 p.m.: The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a discussion on natural gas.

4 p.m.: The Cato Institute holds a discussion on “Which States Are Most Free?”


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9:30 a.m.: The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of CIA Director Leon Panetta to serve as secretary of defense.

10 a.m.: A Senate Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing on border corruption.

10 a.m.: The Senate Judiciary Committee meets to mark up S.1103, on extending the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller.

10 a.m.: The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion on “Decoupling the Values Agenda: Millennials, Religion, and Shifting Attitudes toward Abortion and Same-sex Marriage.”

Noon: Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) and others deliver remarks at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on “U.S.-India Relations: A View from Capitol Hill.”


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

10:30 a.m.: The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion on “Afghanistan: Will the Push into Kandahar Turn the Tide of the War?”

Noon: The Mercatus Center hosts a discussion on the fiscal future of Social Security and Medicare in Room B-339 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Noon: The Heritage Foundation holds a book discussion on “The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America.”

7 p.m.: Chef Jose Andres discusses “the history of American food and cooking, science and cooking, and why food is the solution to so many of the challenges we face as a nation” at the National Archives.