It ain’t the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., got an extra assignment Wednesday that could give him an opportunity to delve into a wide range of foreign policy issues.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. appointed Blumenthal to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Blumenthal will fill a vacancy created by his predecessor, retired Sen. Chris Dodd.

The commission is a federal agency charged in part with “advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries,” according to its website.

“I am honored to be appointed to this distinguished commission. I have always been, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for protecting human rights and economic freedoms for all people, which is as important now as it was when the Commission was first formed. I look forward to working with the commissioners to maintain and improve our relationships with our allies.”

Blumenthal is one of 9 senators on the commission. There are also 9 House members and three Executive Branch representatives.

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