(CNN) - Washington's battle over whether the United States should get involved in Syria's civil war took a new turn on Wednesday as the two top senators on the Foreign Relations Committee called for arming rebels and announced that the panel would take up their proposal next week.
Sen. Robert Menendez, the committee's Democratic chairman, and Sen. Bob Corker, the panel's top Republican, introduced legislation to provide lethal weaponry and training "to vetted Syrian groups" fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, they announced in a statement.
(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez questioned decisions made by federal health officials about his friend and major donor Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor tied to a recent scandal surrounding Menendez, a source close to the senator confirmed Thursday.
First reported by The Washington Post, Menendez "raised concerns" with the officials' conclusion that Melgen had overbilled the federal government by $8.9 million in Medicare and Medicaid payments when treating patients at his West Palm Beach clinic.
(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, in an exclusive television interview with CNN on Monday, denied claims that he had engaged in parties with prostitutes during trips to the Dominican Republic.
"The bottom line is all those smears are absolutely false," Menendez told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.
(CNN) – New Jersey's largest newspaper had some tough words Sunday for Sen. Bob Menendez as he faces allegations of improper travel and parties with prostitutes. The same paper endorsed the senator's bid for re-election three months ago.
An editorial in the Newark-based Star-Ledger said the accusations raised "serious doubts about his fitness to serve as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee" and argued he "needs to break his silence and explain himself."
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Robert Menendez's office issued a statement Wednesday saying he had traveled several times on a plane belonging to a Florida eye doctor who had given political donations to Menendez but that all the trips were "paid for and reported appropriately." The office also denied allegations the New Jersey Democrat had engaged the services of prostitutes.
The statement was issued after FBI agents searched the West Palm Beach office of the ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Investigators were seen carrying out boxes during the search, which began Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday. An FBI spokesman in Florida confirmed there was "law enforcement activity" at the location where the search occurred but did not mention Melgen or anyone else and did not explain what agents were investigating.
(CNN) - Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, is expected to become the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if and when the current chairman, Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, is confirmed as secretary of state, two Senate Democratic aides told CNN.
Menendez is in line to get the high-profile assignment because Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, who is the most senior Democrat on the committee behind Kerry, wants to remain chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, according to a top Boxer aide.
(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said Sunday that he introduced immigration legislation just before Congress left town so he could get "lame-duck movement" on the bill after the November mid-term elections.
While Menendez made clear there was zero chance the bill would pass this year, he said the goal of proposing it was to get it moving through the legislative process as soon as possible.
Washington (CNN) - Four U.S. senators have requested a formal meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the United States this week to discuss the 2009 release of a man convicted of playing a role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The 1988 bombing killed 270 people, most of them Americans.
The Scottish government released Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds last August after doctors said he had terminal prostate cancer and just three months to live. But al-Megrahi is still alive, and news reports in recent days have questioned whether he was as sick as depicted. Questions also have been raised about whether a deal was cut to release him to protect British business interests in Libya.
Washington (CNN) - Democratic senators from two coastal states Tuesday called on President Barack Obama to reverse his call for expanded offshore oil exploration after a massive spill from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I will make it short and to the point: The president's proposal for offshore drilling is dead on arrival," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told reporters.
Nelson and New Jersey Democrats Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg are also backing legislation that would raise the legal cap on damages oil companies must pay for oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion. BP, the company that owns the damaged well off the coast of Louisiana, must pay the full cost of cleanup - but Menendez said $75 million won't begin to compensate coastal communities for the costs the spill could inflict.
Washington (CNN) – How big of a message did Scott Brown send Tuesday by defeating a Democrat in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat?
Bob Menendez, the New Jersey senator overseeing the campaign efforts of Senate Democrats, isn't even attempting to spin the big loss.
"I have no interest in sugar coating what happened in Massachusetts," Menendez said in a statement shortly after the race was called for Brown. "There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient. The truth is Democrats understand the economic anger voters feel, that's in large part why we did well in 2006 and 2008."
Menendez, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Democrats "need to redouble our efforts on the economy, the need to show that our commitment to real change is as powerful as it was in 2008, and the reality that we cannot take a single thing for granted and cannot afford even a second of complacency."