Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., intends to seek the Maryland Democratic nomination for Senate to replacing retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md. In addition, Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, nominated by President Bush to become U.S. trade representative, was approved today by the Senate Finance Committee, moving him a step closer to confirmation. His nomination now goes before the full Senate. Messrs. Cardin and Portman, — both members of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over most retirement issues — have jointly shepherded a number of pension bills though Congress that streamlined paperwork and regulations, made it easier for employers to offer higher benefits to employees, and made retirement plans more portable.