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Foreign policy battle between McCain, Rand Paul to hit Senate committee

A battle in the Republican party over how deeply the U.S. should be involved overseas is expected to play out on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Lawmakers of different stripes will find themselves working side-by-side on the panel in the new Congress.

Two of the Senate panel’s incoming members — Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain, Kristol battle over Tanden nomination Biden's favorability rating rises while Trump's slips: Gallup The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul says Fauci owes parents and students an apology over pandemic measures Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (R-Ky.) — embody the clash over America’s proper role in the world.

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“I think there are going to be some tensions within our party,” McCain presciently predicted in November 2010 after Paul's election. “I worry a lot about the rise of protectionism and isolationism in the Republican Party.”

Paul has bristled at that description – he’s said calling him an ‘isolationist’ “is about as accurate or appropriate as calling Senator McCain an ‘imperialist' ” – but has since proposed defense and foreign aid cuts that have infuriated McCain.

Paul may not be the only Republican target of McCain's well-documented ire.

While the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee has led the charge for a forceful U.S. intervention in Syria, his incoming counterpart on the Senate Foreign Relations panel has at times appeared even less eager than President Obama about getting drawn into a conflict that has left more than 60,000 people dead over the past 22 months.

“There is much discussion here about the U.S. arming the Free Syrian Army to deal with Syrian aircraft,” Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Former GOP senator: Republicans cannot let Trump's 'reckless' post-election claims stand Cornyn: Relationships with Trump like 'women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse' MORE (R-Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the panel, told reporters after returning from a trip to the Turkish border in September. “And while that may end up being the right course of action, their current loose alignment and lack of cohesiveness could make it a very problematic decision in the long run.”

Altogether, five out of the nine Republicans who served on the panel in the last Congress won't be returning, including Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), a long-time centrist Republican leader on foreign policy. Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE (R-Wis.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden eyeing Cindy McCain for UK ambassador position: report Profiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race MORE (R-Ariz.), another foreign aid foe, are joining the committee along with Paul and McCain.

Democrats are seeing less movement but will lose their chairman, Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBiden's favorability rating rises while Trump's slips: Gallup Biden to nominate Neera Tanden, Cecilia Rouse to economic team: WSJ Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE (D-Mass.), if as expected the Senate approves his nomination for secretary of State.

He will be replaced by Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Trump appointee sparks bipartisan furor for politicizing media agency MORE (D-N.J.), who has bucked the White House on Cuba and Iran and called for a tougher stance. The committee loses Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday MORE (D-Ill.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.), who opposed the military operation in Libya, in favor of freshmen Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Biden faces new Iran challenges after nuclear scientist killed New Jersey to halt indoor sports, cap outside gatherings MORE (D-Conn.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (D-Va.).

The House panel is also seeing a significant changeover, with Republicans getting 15 new members, 13 of them freshmen.

These include Rep. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread Potential 2024 Republicans flock to Georgia amid Senate runoffs Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE (R-Ark.), a rising conservative star and Army platoon leader who recently reasserted the discredited link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terror attacks and strenuously opposes Obama's pick for secretary of Defense, Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelFormer Republican national security officials demand GOP leaders denounce Trump's refusal to concede election Republicans who could serve in a Biden government How a tied Senate could lead a divided America MORE.

Another hawk, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is losing the chairmanship to the more centrist Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) but gains the chairmanship of a newly created subpanel on the Middle East and North Africa.

The other freshmen members are Reps. Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonCOVID-19's class divide creates new political risks Arizona voters like Kyl but few think he'll stick around Former Sen. Jon Kyl to replace McCain in Senate MORE (R-Ariz.), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), George Holding (R-N.C.), Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberHouse rebuffs GOP lawmaker's effort to remove references to Democrats in Capitol Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks MORE (R-Texas), Scott Perry (R-Penn.), Steve StockmanStephen (Steve) Ernest StockmanInmates break windows, set fires in riot at Kansas prison Wife of imprisoned former congressman cites COVID-19 risk in plea to Trump for husband's freedom Consequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears MORE (R-Texas), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Trey Radel (R-Fla.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoHere are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year Ocasio-Cortez after Yoho confrontation: 'I won't be so nice next time' Overnight Defense: US, India to share satellite data | Allegations of racism at Virginia Military Institute | Navy IDs 2 killed in Alabama plane crash MORE (R-Fla.) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.). Sophomores Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksHillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it Overnight Defense: Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain for historic signing l Air Force reveals it secretly built and flew new fighter jet l Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' MORE (R-Ala.) are also joining the committee.

On the Democratic side, the strongly pro-Israel Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) is replacing the defeated Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) as ranking member.

Democrats are gaining 10 new members out of 21, including liberal bomb-thrower Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE (Fla.). The other newcomers are: Juan Vargas (Calif.), Bradley Schneider (Ill.), Joseph Kennedy (Mass.), Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraHillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks The Hill's Coronavirus Report: iBIO Chairman and CEO Thomas Isett says developing a safe vaccine is paramount; US surpasses 150,000 coronavirus deaths with roughy one death per minute MORE (Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (Calif.), Grace Meng (N.Y.), Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelFrankel defeats Loomer in Florida House race Live updates: Democrats seek to extend House advantage Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE (Fla.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSix people whose election wins made history Next Congress expected to have record diversity Native Americans elected to Congress in record numbers this year MORE (Hawaii) and Joaquin Castro (Texas).