Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), head of the Democrats' policy and communications shop, said in a statement from his office that "on fundamental Democratic issues, Bob Menendez is one of the stalwarts in the Senate and is regarded as a invaluable leader in our party that helps keep us unified."
Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, said Menendez remains a solid progressive vote in the Senate despite a few disagreements with Democratic leadership and the White House.
"Most legislators, Senators certainly, would want to be able to say, 'I haven't been in lock step every time, and here is when I haven't been because I believe in the issue,'" Dworkin said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.