The Week Ahead: Senate returns

With a state dinner, foreign policy shake-ups, and another presidential candidacy launch, this week is set to be about familiar faces on new territory.

Activity will shift to the upper chamber as the Senate returns from a pro forma session while the House is out for a constituent work week. On Monday, the Senate is scheduled consider the nomination of Donald Verrilli Jr. to be U.S. solicitor general.

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Also on Monday, the GOP presidential field will gain another official candidate this week with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's official announcement from the Somerset County Courthouse in Somerset, Pa.

On Tuesday, The White House will host a state dinner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband, Dr. Joachim Sauer, marking the first state visit from a German chancellor or president since 1992. Merkel, Germany's first female chancellor, received the 2010 Medal of Freedom, which Obama will present to her during the visit.

On Wednesday, Ryan Crocker will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a confirmation hearing for his nomination as ambassador to Afghanistan. Crocker has previously served as an ambassador to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon.

A day later, CIA Director Leon Panetta will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss his nomination to head the Department of Defense. Current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who has held the position since 2006, will depart the Pentagon on June 30.

Monday, June 6

Santorum will announce his candidacy for the presidency fin Somerset, Pa.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak about the Women's World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports at the State Department with members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and youth soccer players from around the world.

Tuesday, June 7

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on "Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Revenues." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 215 Dirksen.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on "Drowning in Debt: Financial Outcomes of Students at For-Profit Colleges." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 430 Dirksen.

The Obamas will host a state dinner at the White House. There will be a formal arrival ceremony for the German chancellor, bilateral meetings, a news conference with the two leaders, and then a formal dinner in the evening.

Wednesday, June 8

Crocker will testify before The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his nomination to be ambassador to Afghanistan. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in 419 Dirksen.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the "President's Request to Extend the Service of Director Robert Mueller of the FBI Until 2013." Witnesses are yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 226 Dirksen.

Obama will welcome Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to the White House.

Obama will hold an event in the Washington, D.C., area highlighting the importance of training and preparing our workforce to compete for manufacturing jobs across country.

Later in the day the president will host Auburn University's football team at the White House to honor the team's 2010 BCS National Championship.

Thursday, June 9

Panetta will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to be secretary of Defense. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in G-50 Dirksen.

Obama meets with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon to the White House.

Vice President Biden meets with senators on Capitol Hill to discuss the budget and the deficit.

Michelle Obama will speak at a luncheon celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

A Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Border Corruption: Assessing Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office Collaboration in the Fight to Prevent Corruption." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 342 Dirksen.

Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.