Boxer passes on Middle East panel opening

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has yet to decide on who will take over Casey's panel on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, which has newfound urgency amid the crises in Egypt and Syria and the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Other committee members already lead other committee panels or have reached the limit of two subcommittee chairmanships across the Senate.

Casey has been replaced on the committee by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who won the seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry in a special election. Markey could end up with the subpanel chairmanship on a committee that's dominated with first-term senators, or the committee could end up being reshuffled.

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