WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) came out against Trump’s proposed cuts to the International Affairs Budget. Rep. Engel condemns cuts because the withdrawal of aid sidelines diplomacy and development. Foreign aid alleviates crises such as starvation, diseases, conflicts and natural disasters. Lessening foreign aid can cause these situations to develop into problems far greater than if addressed with global aid.
Rep. Engel is a Democrat who has given his life to public service and who carries a strong conviction of the benefits of foreign aid. Rep. Engel is currently the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has a consistent record of introducing legislation that uses U.S. influence to reduce global poverty.
Rep. Engel has lived in the Bronx his entire life; he began his career as a teacher and guidance counselor in the New York public school system. He then spent 12 years in the New York State Assembly before his election in 1988 to the House of Representatives, serving the 19th congressional district of New York. Engel has championed many domestic issues throughout his career including healthcare reform, energy policy and gun control.
Rep. Engel condemns cuts to international aid as a champion of global poverty. He is a member of the Commission on Human Rights and the HIV/AIDS Caucus, among many others. Early in President Obama’s first term, he led the U.S. delegation to the Summit of the Americas. He introduced the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016 to encourage trade and economic diversity with Latin America and the Caribbean communities. The overarching goal of the legislation is to lift the region out of poverty.
It is his work in the House Foreign Affairs Committee that is most influential in helping reduce poverty. For example, Rep. Engel co-sponsored the Digital Global Access Policy Act, which the House passed on Jan. 24, 2017. The bipartisan legislation promotes internet access to people in developing countries. Women, elderly, rural, illiterate and low-income people stand to gain from the legislation. Its goal is to spur economic growth and job creation, reduce poverty and improve health.
He also fought against child labor in the cocoa fields of West Africa with the Harkin-Engel Protocol, which became law in 2001. While its effectiveness is debatable, it did raise awareness and required chocolate companies to be held accountable on a voluntary basis for child labor.
Rep. Engel also introduced the Royce-Engel Amendment. The legislation aimed to increase the efficiencies in how we deliver food assistance to the poor. If passed it would save the U.S. $215 million a year by allowing USAID to spend up to 45 percent on local food instead of shipping it from the U.S. The House of Representatives rejected it by a vote of 220-203 with 11 abstaining.
Rep. Engel condemns cuts to aid that could cause deeper problems that require military engagement down the road. He continues fighting for strong and compassionate foreign policy.
– Jene Cates