Senate Foreign Relations Chair Could Depend on Corker

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By Len Bracken

Nov. 9 — Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) could remain chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but that all depends on whether he is tapped by the administration of president-elect Donald Trump to serve lead the State Department.

Industry sources told Bloomberg BNA that it's too soon to say who might succeed Corker as chairman if he were picked to head the State Department. But Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), the second-ranking Republican on the committee, has expressed interest in the chairmanship, a congressional aide told Bloomberg BNA.

Corker is seen as a possible candidate to become secretary of state in the Trump administration, industry sources told Bloomberg BNA.

Four Republicans on the committee were re-elected Nov. 8: Sens. Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is likely to remain the senior Democrat on the panel. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) retired, so Democrats will have to fill her slot. Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) will start the 115th Congress as freshman senators, and they were cited by an industry source as possibilities to fill Boxer's slot.

Lindsay Newman, principal analyst at IHS Country Risk, said in a note that Trump's foreign policy would be guided by emphasizing strength at home rather than engagements abroad. Corker, like most Republicans, withheld his support for the administration’s 12-nation trans-Pacific trade deal. He told Bloomberg BNA in October that if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is scrapped, as called for by Trump, the U.S. should negotiate several bilateral trade agreements with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

To contact the reporter on this story: Len Bracken in Washington at lbracken@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at jashton@bna.com

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