A win for 'smart power'? The new Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Photo by: Dan Bennett and Gage Skidmore / CC BY

A group of military and budget hawks is joining the U.S. Senate panel which oversees foreign aid policy. Advocates for a robust foreign affairs budget continue to dominate, though - good news for a community fearful of steep budget cuts that could be part of upcoming debt reduction.

Additions to the Foreign Relations Committee include two Democrats, Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, as well as four Republicans: John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Tea Party favorite who has been advocating U.S. disengagement abroad.

The panel is expected to be chaired by Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, with Bob Corker of Tennessee serving as the ranking Republican, writes Liz Schrayer, a Washington insider who serves as the executive director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski, a longtime supporter of a robust foreign affairs budget, will chair the powerful Appropriations Committee.

Read the full list of Senate Democratic and Republican committee assignments.

Earlier this month, the new House Foreign Affairs Committee members were announced - a mixed bag of budget-conscious lawmakers that is expected to pursue at least modest aid cuts. U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Senate Foreign Relations Committee chief John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Jack Lew, a former State Department official who now works in the White House, is expected to get the nod as Treasury secretary. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Daniel Yohannes, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corp., are expected to stay on.

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About the author

  • Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.