WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) released the following statement after Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer reappointed him as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez served as Chairman of the Committee in the 113th Congress and briefly as Ranking Member during the 114th Congress.

“I am honored to resume my position as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Now more than ever, it is critical that the United States remains fully engaged across the globe and that we project the principles of our democratic ideals as we confront the emerging threats and demands we face under the Trump Administration.

“At a time of great uncertainty and global insecurity, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee must pursue a robust American foreign policy that champions the values of democracy, peace, and the preservation of human rights. I plan to serve as a vigilant watchdog of our nation’s diplomatic and security architecture, ensuring that Secretary Tillerson respects the role of Congress in overseeing U.S. foreign policy. We cannot sit idly by as the Trump Administration allows the State Department to suffer a mass exodus of seasoned diplomatic personnel that could damage our ability to advance American interests worldwide for decades to come.

“Since President Trump took office, I have consistently expressed my deep concerns over several pressing foreign policy issues including his refusal to counter Russia’s aggressions and coordinated interference in democratic systems and elections around the world, a seemingly blatant disregard for advocating for basic human rights and upholding freedoms for all people around the globe, and the total absence of a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran’s ongoing destabilizing activities.

“Our national economy and national security are increasingly dependent on American leadership around the world, and I plan to be a forceful voice in achieving our international objectives to advance our interests and protect our allies, maintain a level playing field for New Jersey companies doing business abroad, and support human rights and freedoms for all people around the globe.

“As our Ranking Member, Senator Cardin has always been upfront, forthright, and unwavering in defending America’s diplomatic community and our foreign policy agenda. I join my colleagues in commending him for his exceptional leadership and I look forward to continuing to work with him on the issues he has championed over the past several years.”