WASHINGTON – A Senate panel that planned to begin hearings next week on the intelligence overhaul recommended by the Sept. 11 commission (search) will instead hold its first session this Friday.
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee (search) spokeswoman Jen Burita said Tuesday the session was moved up to accommodate the schedules of the commission's two leaders, who will testify: Republican Thomas Kean, the former governor of New Jersey, and retired Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind.
The Senate hearing is all but certain to be Congress' first on the commission report. Several other House and Senate committees are also planning hearings, underscoring the sense of urgency congressional leaders are trying to project at a time when lawmakers have just started a six-week recess.
Last Friday, committee Chairwoman Sen. Susan Collins (search), R-Maine, and the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (search) of Connecticut, said they planned to begin their hearings next week.
Burita said this Friday was chosen "because it was the day we were able to get both co-chairmen together."
Senate leaders have asked committees to produce legislation by Oct. 1. House leaders, after initially saying the process could take some time, directed their committee leaders to have bills ready in September.