WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered the following opening remarks today at a full committee markup of H.R. 3352, H.Res. 220, H.Res. 221, H.Res. 222, H.Res. 358, H.R. 2037, H.R. 3206, H.R. 3460:
"Let me first say that I’m pleased to support all of the measures before us today, and I thank our members for their hard work.
"I want to start by discussing three bipartisan resolutions I introduced with Ranking Member McCaul that outline what I see as the three pillars that uphold a successful, uniquely American, foreign policy.
"The first, House Resolution 222, reaffirms the importance of America’s alliances and partnerships.
"We’re much better positioned to defuse crises to respond to global challenges like climate change and deadly pandemics and to push back against aggressive regimes and other threats when we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends and allies.
"The second resolution, House Resolution 221, makes clear that human rights, democracy and the rule of law should be at the center of our foreign policy. Our actions abroad should reflect our country’s spirit of generosity and compassion: the development efforts that help countries and communities lift themselves up that help people grow enough food to feed their communities that push governments to become more open and accountable.
"These are the right things to do. And it’s also the smart thing to do. Countries that are freer and more inclusive with economies that are thriving and justice systems that are fair tend to be more stable and better partners for the US.
"We see an example of this with Mr. Malinowski’s bill, the Saudi Arabia Human Rights Accountability Act. Saudi Arabia is an important security partner, but we cannot just look the other way when they ignore international norms and basic human rights.
"The horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi demands accountability and justice. After the astounding evidence we’ve seen, it can’t just be business as usual. And since the Administration is dragging its feet on taking any meaningful action, Congress must step forward.
"That brings me to our third pillar resolution, H. Res 220, which recognizes the importance of diplomacy and development to our national security and supports a strong International Affairs Budget. I was pleased to work closely with Ranking Member McCaul along with our Appropriations colleagues Chairwoman Lowey and Ranking Member Rogers in authoring this resolution.
"For the last two years, Congress has come together in a bipartisan manner to reject the Administration’s effort to slash funding for our diplomacy and development efforts.
"This resolution recognizes the important work our diplomats and development professionals do and the need to continue to demonstrate American leadership and values and promote U.S. interests through the international affairs budget.
"We shouldn’t forget: when we talk about diplomacy, we’re talking about people. We’re talking about women and men and families who are willing to live in far-flung places—and sometimes face great dangers—because they’ve all answered the call to serve.
"We need to make it clear to these dedicated public servants—and to the rest of the world—that the United States understands the value of diplomacy. And we need to give our personnel the support and resources they need to carry out this important work. This affects America’s national security and our partner nations around the globe.
"And how do we bring all of this to life? How do we advance our foreign policy interests and empower our diplomatic institutions to do the work? We need a fully authorized, reinvigorated State Department.
"Every year, the National Defense Authorization Act is considered a must-pass bill. But it’s been 17 years – let me repeat that, 17 years – since a State Department authorization has been signed into law.
"From my time as Ranking Member with Chairman Ed Royce, it’s been my goal to make authorizing the State Department a regular part of this committee’s work. We need to get the State Department authorization to become a must-pass bill like the NDAA—because we know that diplomacy, along with defense, is critical to our national security.
"So I’m proud that today we’re marking up the State Department Authorization Act that I introduced with Mr. McCaul. There’s no difference in the way Mr. McCaul sees this and the way I see this. This bipartisan bill strengthens the management and operations of the Department of State, including provisions to recruit and retain a diverse workforce bolster embassy and information security and improve the Department’s public diplomacy, anti-corruption, and security assistance efforts.
"And today’s measure is just the beginning, laying the foundation for our committee’s work in the years to come to keep the State Department strong and ensure that our diplomacy and development workforce can best advance American foreign policy."