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- 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 a resolution recognizing ASEAN’s work towards stability, prosperity, and peace in Southeast Asia over the last 50 years (H.Res.311):

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I rise in support of this measure and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

“Let me start by thanking the authors of this resolution, two valued members of the Foreign Affairs Committee: Mr. Castro of Texas and Ms. Wagner of Missouri.

“In addition to bringing this legislation forward, these two lawmakers established the first-ever Congressional ASEAN Caucus.  So, I’m grateful for their leadership helping to advance American interests in the Asia-Pacific.

“Part of ensuring America’s strong role in that region is our work with ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  This organization has worked to promote stability, prosperity, and peace among the countries of Southeast Asia. 

“It’s in our own strategic interest to see stronger countries, closer partnership, healthier economies, so our own success in Asia is closely tied to the success of ASEAN and its members.

“This resolution underscores the accomplishments of ASEAN as it marks its 50th anniversary.  It sends a signal to our partners and friends in South Asia—Southeast Asia—that the United States is committed to peace and prosperity in the region.  And it puts Congress on record saying that in this challenging time, the United States must remain engaged around the world—particularly in the Asia Pacific.

“The Administration’s budget proposed a 46 percent cut to assistance in East Asia and the Pacific.  I think this would be a grave mistake. 

“What kind of impact would that have on American-backed initiatives that are having a positive impact?  What message does it send to the countries that we depend on as partners?

“Rather than drawing back, America should be even more engaged in the Asia-Pacific.  This measure reaffirms our commitment to America’s leadership in the region.

“I want to end by thanking the authors, and I want to compliment Chairman Royce, who knows more about this region of the world than virtually anybody in Congress and has been to the world—to that part of the world—and I have gone with him many times.

“And the United States Congress has shown the ability to work with countries for the betterment of their people, for the betterment of our relationship with them. 

“So this measure reaffirms our commitment to America’s leadership in the region.  I thank the authors, I thank Chairman Royce, and I reserve the balance of my time.”

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