Engel Presses for New Russia Sanctions


- As Delivered – Click Here for Video -

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks in the House of Representatives calling for action on the SECURE Our Democracy Act, legislation he introduced with Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (VA) that would impose sanctions on anyone who interferes with an American election from overseas. Shortly after Rep. Engel spoke on the floor, House Republicans voted unanimously to block this bill from moving forward.

“I thank my friend for yielding.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise because we’ll soon have the chance to vote on legislation that would punish those who attacked American democracy in 2016 and would deter anyone who tries to do so in the future.

“The bill I introduced with Mr. Connolly, the SECURE Our Democracy Act, would slap tough sanctions on anyone found to interfere with an American election from overseas.  It goes back to 2015, so it would include those who tried to put their thumb on the scale in favor of Donald Trump.

“We first introduced this bill in January 2017, when it was becoming clear that Russia had waged a cyber warfare campaign against our election. Our updated version of this bill includes new congressional oversight provisions.

“Why? Because even if this bill passes, we don’t trust the President to do the right thing, quite frankly. We don’t believe he’ll do what it takes to protect our democracy, even after his own Administration has told us over and over that Russia is at it again. After standing next to Vladimir Putin and accepting his lies over the unanimous conclusion of our intelligence community, how could we?

“So when the next vote is called, my friends on the other side of the aisle have a choice to make. Will they vote to say to Putin—to our chief adversary—that we won’t tolerate his attacks on our democracy? Or will they again cede Congress’s oversight role and continue to cover up for the President, who cozies up to Putin, who sides with him over our allies, who continues to deny what everyone else knows is a fact?

“Make no mistake: the next vote is our opportunity to punish the criminals who interfered in our election—to send a message that there will be consequences for anyone who does so in the future. After this vote, every member will be on the record, letting the world know where they stand.

“So I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: vote to defeat the previous question. Vote to show Russia and Putin that we won’t stand by while they continue to attack American democracy.

“I again thank the gentleman, and I yield back.”