– As Delivered –
WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (S. 1141):
“Mr. Speaker. I rise in strong support of this measure and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m glad we’re taking up this bill from our colleagues in the other body, Senators Shaheen and Capito.
“And I want to thank our colleagues who have worked so hard on the House version of this bill—Representative Jan Schakowsky, Representative Noem.
“Jan Schakowsky has brought forward a version of this bill for the last few Congresses. The House passed a version of this bill last year, and I’m glad we’re finally moving a version of it forward.
“One of the hallmarks of the Obama Administration foreign policy was the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. It was based on a wealth of research that showed very clearly, as the Chairman said, getting women involved in conflict prevention and resolution leads to more successful outcomes.
“Since the launch of this plan, the United States has promoted efforts to enhance the physical and economic security of women around the world. We have sought to break through the barriers that have stopped women from being full participants in peace processes.
“This bill would make these policies permanent. It would build on the Obama Administration’s achievements, making sure State Department, USAID, and the Pentagon personnel fairly, fully understand just how important it is to get women involved in conflict prevention and resolution. It would also require annual reporting so Congress can stay apprised of these efforts.
“Now we’ve been working a few years to get this legislation across the finish line, and frankly, I don’t think we can wait another moment.
“The Administration’s budget proposal would slash funding for diplomacy and development to dangerous levels, and a current redesign effort at the State Department might strip out initiatives like women, peace, and security. I hope that won’t happen.
“I got assurances today that that won’t happen. I hope that’s right, but we have to still fight for this.
“Congress has a role to play in the foreign policy, and by passing this bill, it will be clear that we support efforts to expand opportunity and participation for women around the world.
“I’m pleased to support this measure. As always, Chairman Royce has been a bulwark of helping to push this through. I thank the Members who have worked so hard on it. And I reserve the balance of my time.”
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