The White House-led negotiations on reaching a deal to raise the country’s debt limit remain the focus on Capitol Hill, but with the House out of session this week, President Obama is entering the fray by meeting with the top party leaders in the Senate. He and Vice President Biden will meet separately Monday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Will any grand compromises be worked out in those meetings? Not likely. But the huddles represent a stepping-up of the principals’ participation in the debt-limit negotiations, and it will be worth watching whether any of the leaders weigh in on defense spending cuts, one area of potential compromise that has surfaced in the discussions.

Also this week, the Senate will move forward on a resolution on the U.S. military involvement in Libya after weeks of deliberation by both parties. On Tuesday, the Foreign Relations Committee will hold a morning hearing on “Libya and War Powers,” followed by an afternoon vote on the bipartisan resolution drafted by Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Opposition to U.S. involvement in Libya hasn’t been as strong in the Senate as in the House, but several senators have voiced their dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s handling of the mission and will probably continue to raise their concerns this week.

Here’s a closer look at the week ahead:


The Senate is in at 2 p.m. No roll call votes are expected. The House is in recess all week.


The Senate is in session at 10 a.m. to consider the nominations of James Cole to be deputy attorney general and Virginia Seitz and Lisa Monaco to be an assistant attorneys general. A vote on the Cole nomination is expected at noon.

Committee hearings/other events:

8:30 a.m.: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) delivers the keynote address at the 2011 Healthcare Payments and Policy Conference at the Washington Court Hotel.

9 a.m.: The National Center for Policy Analysis holds a briefing on “What Should Be Done About Medicare?” in B-354 Rayburn.

9:30 a.m.: The Senate Armed Services Committee meets to consider several nominations. Among the nominees testifying is Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen, whom President Obama has tapped to succeed Gen. David Petraeus as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.

10 a.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on “Libya and War Powers.”

10 a.m.: The Senate banking committee holds a hearing on “Housing Finance Reform: Access to the Secondary Market for Small Financial Institutions.”

10 a.m.: A Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee holds a hearing on the “Status of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment.”

10 a.m.: A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on the DREAM Act.

10:30 a.m.: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies at a closed-door Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the 2012 national and military intelligence budget.

12:30 p.m.: Senate Democrats and Republicans hold their weekly policy luncheons.

2:30 p.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets to mark up S.J.Res.20, authorizing the limited use of the United States armed forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya. The committee will also vote on several nominations.


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

9 a.m.: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) delivers opening remarks at a Heritage Foundation discussion on “The China Challenge: Mixing Economics and Security.”

10 a.m.: The Senate commerce committee holds a hearing on “Privacy and Data Security: Protecting Consumers in the Modern World.”

10 a.m.: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on the nomination of Derek Mitchell to be the State Department’s special representative and policy coordinator for Burma.

10:30 a.m.: The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on “Barriers to Justice and Accountability: How the Supreme Court’s Recent Rulings Will Affect Corporate Behavior.”

2 p.m.: The Institute on Political Journalism holds a ceremony at the National Press Club to recognize journalists “for excellence in economic, investigative and collegiate reporting.”

2:30 p.m.: The Senate homeland security committee holds a hearing on “The Diplomat’s Shield: Diplomatic Security and its Implications for U.S. Diplomacy.”

4 p.m.: The Cato Institute holds a policy forum on “Turning the Page in Afghanistan.”

6 p.m.: The Women’s Foreign Policy Group holds a forum with Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, and The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung on “U.S.-Pakistani Relations.”


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

8 a.m.: Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) speaks at the Heartland Institute’s annual International Conference on Climate Change at the Marriott Wardman Park.

10 a.m.: Former Office of Management and Budget directors Peter Orszag and James Nussle, and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities President Robert Greenstein, testify at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on deficit reduction.

10 a.m.: The Senate homeland security committee holds a hearing on “Afghanistan Reconstruction Contracts: Lessons Learned and Ongoing Problems.”

10 a.m.: A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on “Oversight of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.”

2 p.m.: The Institute for the Study of War holds a discussion on Afghanistan at the Newseum. Participants include Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

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


The Senate is in session.

Committee hearings/other events:

11 a.m.: The Smithsonian Institution begins the 45th Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

1 p.m.: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden discusses “America’s continued commitment to leadership in human spaceflight and NASA’s plans to extend human presence beyond low-Earth orbit” at the National Press Club.