Rubio: NATO needs US to topple Gadhafi

Freshman Senator Marco Rubio  (R-Fla.) said on Tuesday that NATO does not have the military might to topple the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi without assistance from American forces.

"We ceded most of the operation over to our NATO allies and God bless them for trying but they do not have the military capability to complete the job," said Rubio, who is a junior member of the Committee on Foreign Relations.


Kirk asks Obama administration to reconsider 'stealth' doctor survey

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Tuesday warned that the Obama administration's planned survey of patient access to primary care doctors in the U.S. could impose significant costs on doctors and needlessly waste U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Kirk said he has "great concern" about what he called the administration's planned "stealth survey," which was first reported in The New York Times on Sunday. That report said the administration plans to have fake patients try to set up appointments with doctors in order to gauge patient access to these doctors.


Tuesday: Attorney general nominations in the Senate

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. and will consider the nominations of James Cole to be deputy attorney general and Lisa Monaco and Virginia Seitz to be assistant attorneys general. Votes on these nominations are expected at noon.

After their return from weekly caucus lunches, senators will continue consideration of S. 679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act.


Senate condemns China for South China Sea actions

The Senate on Monday unanimously approved a resolution condemning China for intimidating neighbors in the South China Sea. 

The resolution, authored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee, is in response to several incidents in which China has acted aggressively with vessels from other countries in the South China Sea. 


Sanders: Republicans are acting like bullies on debt ceiling

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Monday Republicans were using the debt-ceiling debate to blackmail Democrats into forgoing tax increases on the wealthy as a tool toward balancing the budget. 

“Let us make it very clear that we will not be blackmailed … by the Republican leadership in Washington who are threatening to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States,” said Sanders. 

“That is their threat,” he said, adding that “Republicans here in Washington are acting like schoolyard bullies.”


Monday: Sen. Sanders to call for new revenues in debt deal

The Senate returns at 2 p.m. for speeches, which will last until 6 p.m. At 4 p.m., Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is expected to speak about the need to ensure that new tax revenues are part of any political agreement related to the debt ceiling.

Sanders believes that a debt-ceiling agreement must rely on new revenues for at least half of any agreement to reduce red ink. He sent a letter to President Obama on the topic that several thousand people have signed in support.


A closer look at next week...

The House left town Friday for a weeklong recess, shortly after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) abandoned Vice President Biden's debt ceiling talks.

While those talks have long been perceived as a battle between the White House and House Republicans, the White House next week will turn to the Senate for advice. President Obama and Biden meet with the top Senate Democrat and Republican on Monday in the hopes of setting a constructive tone for the House's return after July 4.


Senate committees next week: Libya and war powers, oil spill aftermath, democracy in the Americas

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will lead discussions in the powerful Senate Foreign Relations committee next week on the prudence and legality of continued U.S. participation in the NATO bombardment of Libya.

A subcommittee of Senate Foreign Relations will also review the state of democracy in nations south of the U.S. border.

In other committee action, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) will hold a hearing in his Water and Wildlife subcommittee to scrutinize the ongoing impact of last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster on flora and fauna in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Among next week’s Senate committee hearings: