Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWhy is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Democrats weigh changes to drug pricing measure to win over moderates 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 SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' GOP disappointment with McConnell deal could delay vote 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.
“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 TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations 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.