- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2013
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee faces a busy week ahead, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton slated to testify Wednesday about the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The following day will bring see the opening of confirmation hearings before the committee for Mrs. Clinton’s successor, Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.

While Mr. Kerry is the committee’s standing chairman, congressional sources said both of next week’s hearings will be presided over by Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, is more senior on the committee than Mr. Menendez and under Senate tradition could take over as chairman. But Mrs. Boxer’s staff has indicated that she intends to stay put in her current position as the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

As a result, Mr. Menendez is now slated to take over as the Foreign Relations Committee chairman upon Mr. Kerry’s expected confirmation as secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton’s Benghazi testimony, meanwhile, will come on the same day that she appears before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She faces sharp questioning on the administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and its aftermath.

Congressional staffers said the testimony will add to that given last month by Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides and Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns.

Mrs. Clinton canceled her own December testimony after dehydration from a stomach virus caused her to faint and hit her head, which subsequently led to a blood clot inside her skull. She was discharged two weeks ago from a New York hospital. Doctors have said that the clot did not result in a stroke or neurological damage and that they expect her to recover fully.