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Engel Remarks at Full Committee Hearing

ENGEL REMARKS AT FULL COMMITTEE HEARING

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WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks at the full Committee markup of a resolution recognizing Singaporean independence (H.Res.374), a resolution providing safety and security for Iranian dissidents living in Iraq's Camp Liberty (H.Res.650), a resolution expressing support for ensuring that all Holocaust victims live in dignity and that Germany reaffirm that commitment (H.Con.Res.129), and the Global Food Security Act of 2016 (S.1252):

“Thank you for convening this markup, and for bringing these bipartisan measures forward.  I’m happy to support them all.  I’m grateful to all of our members on both sides of the aisle for their hard work.  I’ll speak first about the four measures we are taking up on en bloc

“I’ll start with House Resolution 374, which recognizes a half century of independence for our close friend Singapore.  Last year, Singapore celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence.  And this year, the United States and Singapore mark 50 years of our bilateral relationship.

“In that time, Singapore has become an important partner to the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.  Over the years we’ve seen our economic and security ties grow stronger and stronger.

“In the years ahead, as American foreign policy focuses more and more on Asia, we know there will be additional opportunities to work together with our partner Singapore on issues from countering violent extremism; to addressing climate change, where Singapore as an island nation has been a strong leader; to pushing for a peaceful and rules-based resolution to contentious issues like the South China Sea. 

“This resolution underscores the important friendship between our countries, and I’m happy to support it.

“We’re also considering House Resolution 650, calling for the safety and security of the Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty in Iraq.  I want to thank Mr. Poe and Mr. Higgins for working on this measure, which I’m proud to cosponsor. 

“I want to welcome our friends wearing their yellow jackets to this Committee today.  And believe me, we are very concerned about Camp Liberty and we’re making everyone know that we’re keeping a watchful eye to make sure those people are protected.

“The residents of Camp Liberty deserve to live in dignity and without fear of violence.  Last October’s rocket attacks on the unarmed residents of Camp Liberty by a Shia militia with ties to Iran killed 24 people.  It’s the height of cowardice.  We are still waiting for the perpetrators of this attack to be brought to justice.

“I would also note that my amendment to this resolution highlights Albania’s commitments to resettling Camp Liberty residents.  They have resettled 1,000 already and are committed to resettle 2,000 more.  I have worked closely with the Albanian government in all the years I’ve been in Congress.  This shows a tremendous generosity of spirit and commitment to care for the most vulnerable on the part of the people of Albania. 

“This resolution sends a message that we stand with the men, women, and children in Camp Liberty and want to see quick and meaningful action to bring them relief.

“I’ll turn now to House Concurrent Resolution 129, which calls for Germany, and for all of us, to redouble our efforts to care for those who were victims of humanity’s darkest chapter, the Holocaust.

“As the spokesman for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said, ‘All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust.  We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own.’

“Part of that responsibility, of course, is to generously assist those survivors who endured this evil firsthand.  In the spirit of goodwill and friendship, this measure calls on Germany’s leaders to do whatever it takes to properly care for this generation, which is getting older and dying, and I’m glad to support it.

“Lastly, I’m glad to support Senate bill 1252, the Senate’s version of the Global Food Security Act.  And I was pleased that the House passed our version a few weeks ago. 

“It’s simply unconscionable that nearly 800 million people around the world would live without knowing how they’ll get their next meal.  Half of all the deaths of children under five years old are tied to malnutrition.

“The United States has a responsibility to help meet this challenge, both by helping people feed themselves and by taking a hard look at the root causes behind poverty, hunger, and instability. 

“And this bill prioritizes foreign-assistance programs aimed at reducing global poverty and hunger.  It also authorizes a strong investment in the Administration’s signature effort, ‘Feed the Future,’ as well as other State Department and USAID initiatives. These efforts deserve our continued support, and I’m glad we’re moving ahead with this bill. 

“So thank you again, Mr. Chairman.  Thanks to all our Members, again, on both sides of the aisle.  And I yield back.”