Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“Earlier this week, Congress passed the Omnibus spending bill, but without the key bipartisan State Department Authorization Act. Democrats and Republicans in both Houses had accomplished a goal not achieved in 17 years and agreed upon this bill, but at the last minute, Ivanka Trump demanded that her self-styled women’s economic empowerment program be ‘airdropped’ into the measure. Virtually all interested parties opposed this program, but the White House threatened to veto the Omnibus if it contained the bipartisan, bicameral State Department Authorization Act without this pet project. So Majority Leader McConnell told negotiators to remove the State bill to placate the administration.

“The Trump Administration never cared about diplomacy and infamously undercut our diplomats throughout the President’s term. But just so we’ll never forget how much damage President Trump did to the State Department and those who work there, he, in an act of petty retribution, refused to sign a law that would bolster the agency and advance our national security.

“I have every confidence that the Biden Administration will see the value in diplomacy and diplomats and will embrace the need for legislative action to strengthen the State Department and its workforce. I welcome the next administration’s engagement in this effort, and I look forward to members of the 117th Congress finishing the job we started.”

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