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Rubio named Interim Chair of Senate Intel Committee

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will serve as interim chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Monday.

Rubio’s appointment comes after North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr notified Senate leadership that he would step aside as chairman while he undergoes an FBI investigation into his stock trades.

“The senior senator for Florida is a talented and experienced Senate leader with expertise in foreign affairs and national security matters,” McConnell wrote in a statement. “Senator Rubio was the natural choice for this temporary assignment on the basis of accumulated committee service. His proven leadership on pertinent issues only made the decision easier.”

Rubio is one of the Senate’s most vocal members on foreign policy and routinely calls out Russia and China for their wrongdoings. He is expected to continue Burr’s bipartisan approach to the committee’s ongoing Russia investigation.

McConnell applauded Rubio for a decade of service on the Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees.

“His care for our nation’s security, advocacy for our values and interests, and vigilance toward threats have earned a national reputation. On subjects ranging from China and Russia to Iran and North Korea to tyranny and unrest in our own hemisphere, Senator Rubio has been on the case for years,” McConnell wrote.

In a statement on Monday, Rubio said he is grateful to Leader McConnell for his confidence in him to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee during Burr’s absence from the Chairmanship. He said the committee has long been one that conducts its work seriously, and that he looks forward to continuing that tradition.

Rubio currently serves as the chairman of the Small Business Committee and has played a major role in the Senate’s coronavirus response. The committee created the Paycheck Protection Program to aide small businesses impacted by the current economic climate.

Burr had developed a strong working relationship with the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner. Rubio is also on good terms with Warner. They joined together on several issues including China’s theft of intellectual property.

“Senator Rubio has been a great partner on intelligence and national security issues and I look forward to working with him in his new role as acting chairman,” said Warner.

It is not clear how long Rubio will serve in this new capacity or if he will have to step down from his chairmanship of the Small Business Committee.

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