[[{"fid":"380","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"attributes":{"alt":"1.24.17. Ranking Member Engel Remarks at Full Committee Organizational Meeting","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"},"link_text":false}]]

- As Delivered -

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks at the House Foreign Affairs Committee Organizational Meeting for 115th Congress:

“I look forward to working with you in the coming Congress, as we’ve worked together so well during the past four years.  I’m hopeful that we will continue this Committee’s long standing tradition of bipartisan cooperation and promoting our national interests.

“Chairman Royce and I like to say that when it comes to promoting national interest, that politics stops at the water’s edge.  And I am very proud of the members of this Committee on both sides of the aisle who have fulfilled that over the past four years that Chairman Royce and I have been Ranking Member and Chairman respectively.

“And so, I think it’s, it’s very important that we try to continue that.  It doesn’t mean we’re not going to have disagreements from time to time.  But I do believe, respectfully, that disagreements can be respectful, not disagreeable.

“During my, the last 8 years, my, my colleagues on the majority side called the Administration to task when it made a foreign policy decision to which they objected to or they thought put our interests abroad at risk and neither did I.

“I think everyone knows that I am not afraid to speak my mind when I disagree with a policy, even if my own party is behind that policy.

“So I think all the members on this side certainly feel the same way.  And I hope going forward we keep up that tradition of speaking truth to power, putting our country’s interests before our party’s.  And that’s what it means to leave politics at the water’s edge.

“Now speaking of leaving politics at the water’s edge, I want to just take a moment to talk about a great friend who was Chairman of this Committee for many years who recently passed away.  And that’s Congressman Ben Gillman of New York.  His, his portrait is to my right over there on the wall.

“Parts of my district are the same as Ben’s district and those of you who were on the Committee while Ben was the Chairman of this Committee know that Ben was a wonderful person, person, who was fair, kind, sensible. 

“And I think Ed Royce continues in that, in that fine tradition of bipartisanship and working for both sides.  So, I would just ask my colleagues very quickly for a moment of silence for Chairman Gillman. 

“Thank you.

“I’d now like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce the new Democratic members of this Committee.

“First, I’m very happy to welcome Dina Titus who is now serving her third term representing the First Congressional District of Nevada.  Previously served one term representing Nevada’s Third District. 

“I know Dina wanted very much to get onto this Committee and I’m delighted to have her.  And I think we’ll all benefit from her expertise.  So, Dina, welcome.  Welcome to the Committee.

“Next I am pleased to welcome Norma Torres from California.  She is now serving her second term representing the Golden State’s 35th Congressional district.  And has expressed to me her desire for ma—for a long, long time to be on this Committee, has particular knowledge of Central American affairs.  That’s where she was born.

“And I look forward to her expertise in teaching us some of the things that are important.  As we know the, that region of the world and our country are really bound up and intertwined, and it’s really so important to have someone of her expertise on the Committee.  So Norma, glad to have you.

“Next, we’re very happy to welcome back Brad Schneider who served on the Committee in the 113th Congress during his first term representing the 10th Congressional district of Illinois.  He was recently elected again to serve that district.

“Those of you who remember Brad knows how smart he is and what a hard worker he is.  And we’re just delighted to have him back on the Committee.  So, welcome, Brad.

“I’m also very happy to welcome Tom Suozzi, a newly elected member, representing the 3rd district of New York out in Long Island, replacing Steve Israel in Congress.  Tom has extensive knowledge with the county executive of Nassau County for, for many years.

“And the minute, minute he was elected he came to me and said I really want to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee.  So, I know we are going to look forward to his expertise. Tom Suozzi.

“Next, I’m delighted to welcome Adriano Espaillat, also a New Yorker who represents the 13th Congressional District.  My neighbor to the South.  Our districts butt each other.

“And Adriano was, is the first Dominican American to serve in Congress, so he’s a trailblazer.  And I know he’s very, very popular.  Replaces Charlie Rangel in Congress.

“Last but certainly not least, I’d like to welcome Ted Lieu now serving his second term representing the 33rd Congressional district of California.  When we’re all tired, he’ll have us out in Malibu and we’ll have a very good time.

“So Ted, we’re really delighted to have you and your expertise as well.  I know we, we talked about Taiwan and some of the other things that are near and dear to your heart and look forward to working with you.

“So thank you, Mr. Chairman.  And, we, we move on and looking forward to a good year.”