Menendez to regain spot as top Foreign Relations Dem
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThere is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties Ending the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean MORE (N.J.) is regaining his spot as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following the Justice Department’s decision to drop all charges against him.

The change was announced on Tuesday in a joint statement from Menendez, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerUS women's soccer team reignites equal pay push Blue Dogs look to move forward on infrastructure project Democratic strategist says Republicans are turning immigration debate into 'political football' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinProposed bipartisan kidney legislation takes on kidney disease epidemic in America Lawmakers raise security concerns about China building NYC subway cars House votes to boost retirement savings MORE (D-Md.), who has served as ranking member for nearly three years. 

Schumer's office says the decision was ratified by the entire Democratic caucus. 

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I am honored to resume my position as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Menendez said in a statement. “At a time of immense global challenges, I will make certain the committee holds President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE and his administration accountable for its capricious and erratic approach to foreign policy.”

Menendez was widely expected to regain the panel's top Democratic spot after the Justice Department ended its years-long investigation and court case. 

Though the Justice Department dropped its charges, the Senate Ethics Committee announced late last year that it was restarting its investigation into the New Jersey Democrat. 

Tuesday’s move puts him in line to become the Foreign Relations Committee chairman if Democrats win back the chamber in November and Menendez — who is up for reelection — keeps his seat. 

It will also give him a perch to take on the Trump administration, which has sparked criticism both on Capitol Hill and internationally for its isolationist foreign policy. 

Menendez stepped down in April 2015 following public corruption charges from the Justice Department, though he remained a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. 

Cardin, who has held the ranking member position since April 2015, is similarly expected to remain a member of the committee.