Kaine grabs Middle East panel chairmanship

“My recent trip to the Middle East and Afghanistan deepened my understanding of issues in the region, and I look forward to working with Chairman [Robert] Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member [Bob] Corker (R-Tenn.) and my committee colleagues to promote the American values of democracy and tolerance.”

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The committee will vote to approve the membership changes on Tuesday. The panel will also be taking up President Obama's picks for ambassador to Australia, Ethiopia, the African Union, Laos, South Africa, the Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Nigeria, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Spain, as well as his choice for assistant secretary of State for African Affairs.

Markey was sworn in two weeks ago following a special election to replace Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who became secretary of State six months ago.

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