WASHINGTON, DC — March 1, 2019 – We’re off to a fast start here in the 116th Congress. January was a busy month, with the introduction of major legislation like H.R. 1, and February was no different. The new Democratic Majority in the House is committed to working for the people, not outside interests. As such, we have already begun moving several key bills that will help curtail gun violence, protect our democracy, and hold this administration accountable.
Here are just a few of the legislative items I worked on in February:
1) Passed H.J. Res 37, a War Powers Resolution that will end U.S. involvement in the conflict in Yemen: As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I felt it was incumbent upon us to move this resolution quickly through the House. We’ve all seen the horrific images of civilian casualties in the Yemen war. Ongoing military operations are bringing us no closer to resolution, and no one wants endless war. The only way out of this mess is for all parties to sit down and work toward a political solution. H.J. Res 37 will help do that.
2) Wrote to New Attorney General William Barr Demanding the Findings of the Mueller Investigation be Made Public: I joined the chairs of five other House Committees in writing to Attorney General Barr to let him know of our expectation that he will make Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report public “without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law.” The very health of our democracy demands it.
3) Passed Universal Background Checks And Reintroduced the Assault Weapons Ban: This past February, we marked one year since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which took the lives of 17 people. Nearly 40,000 Americans have been killed by guns since then. The American people, our children, our communities—we’ve all endured enough horror from gun violence. Universal background checks are vital to reducing gun violence in this country. That’s why I was proud to take a historic step forward by voting for H.R. 8 the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R. 1112 the Enhanced Background Checks Act. H.R. 8 would require universal background checks for the sale of firearms and H.R. 1112 would address the dangerous “Charleston loophole” that allows people prohibited from owning guns to purchase them before a background checks is complete. We in the majority also reintroduced our Assault Weapons Ban legislation. We banned assault weapons in 1994 because we recognized that weapons of war don’t belong on our streets. I proudly voted for that bill then, and I’m proud to cosponsor legislation to reinstitute it now.
4) Signed onto the Green New Deal as an Original Cosponsor: Tackling climate change has been a huge priority of mine for many, many years. I have long been a staunch advocate for renewable fuels and have always believed that we need to invest in clean, green energy to break our dependence on fossil fuels, transform our economy, and move us into a more hospitable 21st century. One of the best ways to do that is to support a Green New Deal. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the first Green New Deal legislation, authored by Senator Markey and my House colleague Representative Ocasio-Cortez.
5) Submitted an Amicus Brief Opposing the Trump Administration Attempt to Limit Asylum Seekers at the Border: 65 of my House colleagues and I submitted this brief to be filed in a case challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to meter asylum seekers at the border. I believe this is a clear attempt by the Administration to curtail legal immigration by creating a deterrent for asylum seekers. My colleagues and I believe it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act and we are committed to help fight it in court.
6) Working to Permanently Authorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund: It seems unconscionable to me that some 17 plus years after the horrific attack on 9/11, the heroes from that fateful day and their families are still forced to endure needless uncertainty about their future care. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides compensation for their families and their suffering, is due to expire within a year, unless Congress quickly acts to save it. My colleagues and I in the New York delegation have introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently fund this critical program, and we have a moral obligation to see it through.
7) Protecting our Four-legged Friends with the PUPPERS Act: I love animals, especially dogs. I’m a member of the House Animal Protection Caucus because I care deeply about the welfare of domestic and wild animals. Tragically, there are horrific reports of dogs’ spines being electrocuted to test coughing reflexes, and dogs suffering through forced heart attacks, all happening as part of medical tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. These are abhorrent tests on any species, and an absolute waste of taxpayer money. We need to end this, which is why I am cosponsoring H.R. 1155, the Preventing Unkind and Painful Procedures and Experiments on Respected Species (PUPPERS) Act of 2019, legislation that would prohibit the use of painful medical testing on dogs.
These are just some of the important issues I’ve been working on as your representative. For more information on these and other items, please visit my website at https://engel.house.gov/.
Eliot L. Engel
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Bryant Daniels | Director of Public Affairs | Congressman Eliot L. Engel