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This week in Congress: Senate eyes Secret Service


Congress is winding down for the Memorial Day recess—the House is out this week—but the Senate will be hard at work with oversight hearings, beginning with the Secret Service prostitution scandal.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) will hold that hearing Wednesday in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called “Secret Service on the Line: Restoring Trust and Confidence.”

Some 21 Secret Service agents and military personnel were involved with as many prostitutes last month in Cartagena, Columbia, for a night of drinking at a strip club and other activities, instead of preparing for President Barack Obama’s visit there to attend an international summit.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan will be the key witness—this will be the first time he has spoken publicly about the scandal. Also testifying will be Charles Edwards, acting inspector general of Homeland Security, who is investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, the full Senate will take up reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which is set to expire later this year. The legislation collects fees from drug makers to fund the FDA’s work to approve new drugs.

Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will hold a hearing on “The Law of the Sea Convention: The U.S. National Security and Strategic Imperatives for Ratification.”

Witnesses include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the Energy Innovation Council’s report on “Catalyzing American Ingenuity: The Role of Government in Energy Innovation.”