Under Judiciary Committee rules, the vote could be postponed for a week, but Leahy said he intends to move the criminal contempt resolutions as soon as possible. Last week, he rejected the White House's executive privilege claim in preventing Rove and Bolten from appearing before his panel, calling it "overbroad, unsubstantiated, and not legally valid," setting the stage for Thursday's showdown.
Rove and Bolten were subpoenaed earlier in the year by the Senate panel as part of the investigation into the sacking of nine U.S. attorneys. President Bush, citing executive privilege, refused to make the two senior aides available for questioning by the committee.
Leahy predicted that the contempt resolutions could reach the Senate floor sometime early next year.
Bush has also blocked Bolten and former White House counsel Harriett Miers from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. The House panel has voted out criminal contempt resolutions against both of them, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), concerned about divisions within her party over the issue, has yet to set a date for a floor vote.
If either chamber were to approve contempt resolutions, it would likely trigger a lengthy court fight over the extent of executive privilege and how far the president can go in preventing senior aides from appeared before congressional committees.