WASHINGTON- Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., will become ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. stepped aside amid corruption charges, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s office announced Thursday.
Cardin has been a member of the committee since he joined the Senate in 2007 and has long been vocal about many foreign and national security issues, especially with Iran’s nuclear program and U.S.-Israeli relations.
“As ranking member, I look forward to becoming even more engaged in our unified national effort to ensure Iran is not allowed to have nuclear weapons,” Cardin said in a statement. “I also expect to fully participate in shaping an open and fair debate over the use of force against ISIL and how we deal with the growing instability that has opened the door for extremist activity in Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere.”
Menendez has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts, including bribery, conspiracy and false statements. He said Wednesday that stepping aside from his position on the committee will be temporary.