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Kerry to appear before Senate confirmation panel Jan. 24

WASHINGTON — Senator John F. Kerry will appear before fellow members of the Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. for his confirmation hearing to be secretary of state, according to a Senate aide.

The hearing will be chaired by Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who is expected to become chairman upon Kerry’s elevation to President Obama’s cabinet and his subsequent resignation from the Senate.

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The committee is expected to make the official announcement of the confirmation hearing on Thursday.

The panel will also announce that outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her past appearance before the panel, will testify on Jan. 23 on the investigation into the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya in September. Kerry, while he will officially remain chairman of the committee until he is confirmed, will not preside over the Benghazi hearing, “because he does not want to put his colleagues in an awkward situation,” said the aide, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Kerry is expected to win speedy confirmation from the Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate.

After meeting with Kerry Wednesday, Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat of Virginia who recently joined the panel, said, “There are few better equipped to serve as the nation’s top diplomat and leader on U.S. foreign policy than John Kerry.”

Kerry has spent recent weeks at the State Department meeting with top diplomats and regional experts as part of his preparations for his confirmation hearings.

The first time Kerry testified before the panel was as a Vietnam War veteran-turned-protester in 1971, launching him to national fame and sparking his career in public service. He was nominated to be America’s top diplomat by President Obama on Dec. 21.

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