Elizabeth Warren has secured a spot on the Senate Armed Services Committee – a role that will give the liberal firebrand from Massachusetts a major voice on national security.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, meanwhile, has landed a position on the Foreign Relations Committee – another prime position for the former Newark mayor whose background is also focused on domestic policy.
The appointments are sure to fuel speculation that Warren and Booker are looking to broaden their issue portfolios to add foreign policy experience ahead of potential runs for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
The moves thrust both Warren and Booker into the center of investigations into the CIA’s finding that Russia hacked Democratic operatives in an effort to help Republican Donald Trump win the 2016 election.
Warren’s three brothers served in the military, she said in a statement issued announcing the assignment. And Massachusetts is home to prominent defense contractors.
“As a member of the committee, I will focus on making sure Congress provides effective support and oversight of the Armed Forces, monitors threats to national security, and ensures the responsible use of military force around the globe,” Warren said.
A lack of foreign policy experience was among the most significant blemishes on Warren’s prospective presidential resume.
Warren would be 71 years old in 2020, which would make her one of the oldest nominees in American history if she emerged victorious from the Democratic primary. But Trump would be 74 in 2020 – a reality that could largely remove age considerations from the race if he seeks a second term.
Booker, who will be 51 at the time of the 2020 contest, announced his appointment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a statement.
“I’m excited about these committee assignments because they will enable me to keep fighting to strengthen America’s national security, ensure equal justice, and expand economic opportunity for all,” he said.
Their moves follow paths similar to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee.
Kaine was passed over by President Barack Obama in 2008 as a running mate in part because he lacked foreign policy experience. Kaine later served on the Senate Armed Services Committee but he has said he will not run for president in 2020.