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Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, questions witnesses during a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren Fuels 2020 Speculation By Joining Key Senate Committee

Dec 15, 2016

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will take a seat next year on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a move that will allow her to burnish her foreign policy credentials in areas ranging from defense spending to Russia's global ambitions.

With the new posting, the Massachusetts senator has decided to follow the path of other Senators, who have used the committee as a stepping stone to a run for national office.

Warren considered running for president in 2016 and is seen as potential contender in 2020. The seat on the Armed Services Committee will put Warren at the center of debates over defense policy, military spending and weapons research, areas in which Warren is not known for her expertise. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, another possible Democratic presidential contender, announced he would be joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next year.

"I'm proud that Massachusetts leads the nation in innovative defense work and scientific research that helps and protects our servicemembers as they do their jobs," Warren said. "During my time in the Senate, I've visited bases and met with defense companies and research labs across the Commonwealth, and I've seen the critical role they play in strengthening our national security."

After joining the Senate, Hillary Clinton took a posting on the committee before her 2008 presidential campaign. Joe Lieberman, the former senator from Connecticut, served on the committee before joining Vice President Al Gore's Democratic ticket in 2000 and attempting his own run in 2004, and Sen. Ted Kennedy sat on the committee when he was considering a second run for president in 1984. Clinton's 2016 running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, joined the Armed Services Committee after being passed over by Barack Obama as a running mate in 2008.

Liberal groups pressured Warren to run for president in 2016, and the outside draft effort Ready for Warren established offices in Iowa. Warren's advisers even produced fundraising projections for a presidential campaign, but she decided against it in part because Clinton had already signaled her candidacy.

Warren has been a fierce consumer advocate and the standard-bearer for progressive groups demanding tougher regulations on Wall Street and corporate accountability. She won plaudits among Democrats as one of the more aggressive critics of Trump during his presidential run, calling him a "thin-skinned, racist bully" and a "small, insecure moneygrubber."

Many Democrats are keenly hoping that she will run in 2020. "Elizabeth Warren would make a wonderful president," said Adam Green, one of the co-founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which encouraged Warren to run for the Senate in 2012.

Warren's posting on the Armed Services Committee will give her credibility on foreign policy if she does decide to enter the race. "All three of my brothers served in the military, and I understand the sacrifices America's servicemembers make to defend our country - and the important work that our Defense Department does to keep Americans safe," said Senator Warren. "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."

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