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Engel Statement on Republican Inaction Prior to House Recess

Engel Statement on Republican Inaction Prior to House Recess

Washington D.C.—Congressman Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today released the following statement on House Republicans’ failure to take action on gun violence, the Zika virus and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan:

“Today, House Republicans left for a seven-week recess without addressing the most pressing issues facing our nation.

“Earlier this week I joined Human Rights Campaign, and dozens of my Democratic colleagues, on the Capitol steps to commemorate the one month anniversary of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. Since that terrible incident in Orlando, more than a thousand Americans have died at the barrel of a gun. From the five brave officers who died in the line of duty in Dallas to the hundreds of others. But – instead of voting to expand background checks, or to keep guns away from suspected terrorists – we’ve done nothing. Not even a single floor vote.

“The GOP has also failed to act on the Zika virus. After waiting months to move on President Obama’s emergency funding request, Republicans put forward a partisan bill that will not come close to providing a comprehensive response to Zika. On top of that, the measure robs resources from other public health programs, weakens the Clean Water Act, and thwarts prevention efforts by making it harder for women to access contraception. And when their paltry package failed, Republicans shunned Democratic attempts to consider legislation that adequately responds to the Zika crisis.

“Sadly, the Zika virus is not our only pressing public health crisis. For more than two years, the residents of Flint, Michigan have been exposed to hazardous levels of lead. Water pipes in Flint are still delivering lead laden water to residents, who continue to be exposed to poisonous levels in their untreated tap water. But despite the urging of House Democrats, the Majority has refused to allow a vote on federal aid for Flint, leaving these American families to cope with this tragedy alone.

“When I was younger, I remember being taught how a bill becomes a law. A Member of Congress would introduce a bill, then Congress would vote on it, and if a majority of members supported it, it would pass. But that’s not what happens in the House of Representatives any more. The GOP’s failure to hold votes on these life-or-death issues is shameful. None of these problems can wait until November.”

For video of Congressman Engel’s floor remarks today on Republican inaction, please click here.

Background:

Congressman Engel is a cosponsor of more than a dozen gun safety bills, an author of five bills of his own, and is proud to carry an F-rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Engel’s remarks from the floor during the Democrats’ sit-in to protest inaction on gun violence are available here. To read his statement following the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which killed 49 people this past June, see here.

Congressman Engel is a cosponsor of H.R. 5044, which would fully fund a federal Zika response. To read the Congressman’s complete statement on the Republican plan, see here. To read Engel’s op-ed on the Zika virus’ impact on women and girls, see here.

Engel has also cosponsored H.R. 4479, the Families of Flint Act, which would send federal funds to address Flint’s water crisis. To read Congressman Engel’s complete statement on Flint, see here.