Congressional Calendar May 18, 2010

The White House sends a trio of policy heavyweights to the Hill to start selling the new START weapons treaty with Russia to members. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen testify at 10:00 a.m. ET on the need for the nuclear arms reduction agreement.

Three Senate committees hear testimony on the cause of and possible solutions to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar starts the day at 11:00 a.m. ET before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In the afternoon, he’ll be joined by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to testify at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing that starts at 2:30 p.m. ET. At that same time, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will question Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, Transocean CEO Steven Newman, and Chairman and President of BP America Lamar McKay, among others.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan returns to Capitol Hill to continue her interviews with members in the Senate. Tomorrow she’ll be visiting with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., among others.

Later in the evening, we will find out if the midterm election anti-establishment trend will continue as Democratic Senate primaries in Arkansas and Pennsylvania pit Washington “insiders” against “insurgent” candidates. Sens. Arlen Specter, D-Penn., and Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., are neck and neck with their challengers and have been pulling out all the stops to stay alive.

And in Pennsylvania’s 12th district Republican Tim Burns and Democrat Mark Critz will be fighting to fill the seat once held by the late Democratic Congressman John Murtha. Both sides are billing this election as a harbinger of things to come in November, and have been spending massive amounts of money to get their man over the top.

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