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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Rep. Engel Farewell Speech  CSPAN  December 27, 2020 1:05am-1:35am EST

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up a look at some of the farewell speeches from members of the u.s. house who launch their bid for reelection. first, representative eliot engel who was defeated in the democratic primary for new york's six congressional district by jamaal bowman. we will hear farewell speeches deborahresentative winkleman. the is the address from floor of the u.s. house of representatives. mr. engel: thank you, programs. i -- thank you, madam speaker. to k unanimous consent revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. madam speaker, i would hope that anyone who has privilege to serve as a member of congress leaves heart full of a gratitude. years as a member of
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this body, i certainly feel that way. it's hard to believe that i've terms, 32 d for 16 years. age 41, not t expect, xactly what to and i learned a great deal in 32 years. i send gratitude first and foremost to the people of the district of congressional times.ding me here 16 t's been an honor to have had your trust and to be your voice house. the gratitude to the thousands of people, capitol police, the arms, the congressional research service, the architect of the capitol, of the attending physician, dr. monahan, and so others. it takes a small army to keep
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congress running, and you seldom you've recognition earned. gratitude to my staff over the years. me acknowledge a few who long een with me for a while. my chief of staff, bill whites, administrative assistant here in washington, ned. for the record a full roster of my staff in the office of the 16th district and the committee on foreign affairs with my profound thanks. gratitude to my representatives. when i came here, i never could have imagined that i would get o be chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. it's a committee that i followed for many years. committee that i've always thought was prestigious. it's a committee i thought was important. nd to be on that committee was
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a wonder for me. to be chair of the committee is just unbelievable. especially want to thank the members of the new york present.n, past and we are a group as richly diverse as the great state we come from. stood oud of the way we together and stood up for new yorkers, particularly in times crisis and tragedy. the pandemic we're enduring now, superstorm sandy, the great recession, and, of course, in aftermath of the attacks of 2001.ber 11, i'm grateful to our leadership sides, and it's been a unique honor to serve alongside speaker, ms. hed pelosi of california. served alongside her for the entire length of my time in tell you, and let me tell everybody, she's certainly kind. a 'm privileged to call her my
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friend. hard ow, we work very here, and sometimes we're so to working we don't get know some of our fellow congress particularly those on aisle.er side of the you know, as people are coming up to me and wishing me the best leave congress, it's people from both parties that are doing it. my republican colleagues are doing it. as my democratic colleagues well. wishing me the best. just been -- been just them.or to serve with to know each other better. f you have a colleague and you don't serve on their committee
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and you are not from their state opposite e from the political party, you don't really get to know them. and that's a shame because i've so much hat we have talent on both sides of the aisle. people who are coming up to me me well, republicans as well as democrats, and that's be.ly the way it should again, if you don't see somebody gym, if you don't travel with them to some countries on globe, if ide of the you don't have much interaction with them, you won't get to know them. and that's one thing i hope changes and changes soon. people have been stopping me me well upon my congress, and many, again, are from the other party. them. to thank because it means a lot to me. i tried to be bipartisan, not up in what i believe and
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not pulling back from how i being bipartisan in that you can respect each other even if you don't agree on some issues. we're all here trying to do the same thing. to bring here trying districts. to our we're here because we love america, and we're here because also here with people who love america. my greatest honor here has been this congress as the chairman of the house committee on foreign affairs. when i was sworn in for my first 1989, the then becamey leader, who soon speaker, tom foley of washington tate, asked me my top three choices for committee assignments. i had to write it down one, two, and three. one i wrote foreign affairs. for two i wrote foreign affairs. i wrote foreign
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affairs. i did it because i wanted to fact that i hoped to be on the committee even though people said to me, why do you want to be on foreign affairs? it's not a committee that's back not something that you can meet people on, it's foreign affairs. it's all over the world. i haven't regretted being a member of the committee and chairman of the committee on foreign affairs for one day. to me, what's going on in the world, what's going on in the world now, what's begun on in the world before, what's going on in the future, is so important. this congress these to be engaged and this congress needs to be very much listening to what's going on and help move this country to the direction we all know the united states can do. i said foreign affairs because you know, since i was a kid,
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growing up in bronx, new york, in public housing, since that time i've been fascinating with america's leader -- leadership role in the world. all four of my grandparents were immigrants, jewish immigrants, from what's now ukraine. who fled the pogroms of the early 20th century looking for safe haven and opportunity. guess what? they found it in america. they came here before world war i. if they hadn't come here they almost certainly would have perished in the holocaust. this country has been a refuge to people who are hurting for many, many years, and i'm grateful for it. as a child of the cold war, i remember learning about america as a beacon of freedom and democracy, standing opposed to an oppressive totalitarian ideology. my entire life has been an education in what a force for good america can be when we're
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at our best and american values that support human rights an human dignity and america's character of compassion and generosity. so of course as a public servant i wanted to leave my mark on the way the united states conducts itself and the global -- on the global stage. there are few areas where i like to think i made a difference. i've always had a special place in my heart for the balkans and in particular a country called kosovo. there are many kosovar alban gains in my -- in new york, that's how i got to know the community. a good friend of mine, harry, introduced me to the community and we have been doing work with the commun and with the country of kosovo ever since. i strongly supported the clinton administration's intervention in the balkans in 1999. we stopped genocide from happening again on -- i by doing
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that. that was nato at its best, that's america at its best, stopping genocide. a million people were being thrown out of kosovo. and we stopped it. that was one of my proudest moments as a member of congress. i remember talking with president clin kohn and saying, we've got to help these people. we've got to help these people. and we did. we know in hindsight that it sthoped genocide. since then i've been a champion for kosovo's sovereignty and independence. that country has made tremendous strides and is recognized by the united states, the u.k., france, germany, japan, and so many other important nations. some people call it kosovo. others pronounce it differently. the people there are very, very pro-american. when you go there as an american you can't help but feel how much
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they love this country and how much -- how grateful they are that we help them. we help them with their independence. i've been honored by that country. i've had a highway named after me and a road named after me and they put me on a stamp, a postage stamp. i was joking with my wife. i said you know, not a cheap postage stamp they put me on, it's a two-pound postage stamp. two euro, i should say, two euro postage stamp. what an honor for me. i served for a time as chairman and ranking member of the western hemisphere subcommittee. i've always pushed for a foreign policy that focuses on and prioritizes what's going on in our own neighborhood. one of the last bills president obama signed into law was my bill, the western hemisphere drug policy commission act. which required our government to take stock of what's work and
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what's fail nourd drug policy over the last few decades. the commission recently submitted its report to congress with recommendations that i hope will impreux u.s. drug policy and safe lives. i've also been a strong advocate for closer ties to our caribbean neighbors. i wrote the u.s.-caribbean strategic engagement act to push for a new gnu strategy to engage caribbean countries that seeks out the expertise of the vibrant caribbean diaspora living here in the crites. when the trump administration cut off assistance to central america, i was proud to lead a bipartisan effort to restore those resources that are helping to reduce crime and violence and root out corruption and thanks to my partner and friend, michael mccaul of texas, who was right there on the trip with me, right by my side, fighting with me, fighting with me for what's
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right. michael is a republican from texas. i'm a democrat from new york. we've become really, really good friends. i wish there would be more of that in congress. you get to know someone again in the other party an you don't serve on a committee with them but you get to know them, you see how marvelous we have, such good people here from all over the country. doing their best, working hard, representing their district well. michael is certainly in that eague. i was proud to lead a bipartisan effort to restore resources that were helping root out crime and violence and corruption. i've also focused on american policy toward syria. in 2003 i wrote the syria accountability and lebanese sovereignty restoration act which helped end the syrian occupation of lebanon.
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it pushed the syrians out of lebanon. in 2012, i sponsored the first bill to arm the free syrian army in its fight against the assad regime. just a year agoing, my egislation the seize syria protection act finally became law, providing the toughest sanctions to date on assad which killed so many people and his enablers. i encourage the incoming biden administration to take full advantage of these tools, dial up pressure on the regime and try to stop the violence. i said at the start of my time here when i spoke to some people israel e, i said that would not have a better friend in congress than elliot enbell. no matter where you stand on israel it would be tough to argument i haven't lived up to that commitment. i've been proud to stand with israel, our closest friend in the middle east and i would
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argue in the world, throughout my career. i believe the united states and israel share an incredibly important partnership they feel cornerstone of this relationship is the support it receives from both sides of the aisle. congress should continue to give this partnership its full support in the future. no one should play partisan politics with america's relationship with israel. the constitution gives congress broad oversight authority to make sure the executive branch is serving the american people. as chairman, i have worked hard to demand accountability from the administration. it hasn't always been easy but during this congress, the committee has succeeded in shining a light on some pretty troubling developments at the state department. it's important that this work continue into the next congress even as the trump administration ends and president elect biden takes office. after all we don't conduct oversight just for the sake of can conducting oversight. it shouldn't be used as a
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political tool. if existing laws and regulations aren't up to the task of preventing abuses and mismanagement we need to remedy these weaknesses. it's up to congress to bend back the crooked branch. i'm confident that my successoring, my friend from nosht, just like me, gregory meeks, will carry the committee's work forward with distinction. i'm glad that he is replacing me as chairman of the foreign affairs committee and i know that he will do a wonderful job. it's on that point, the foreign affair's committee's work, that i take the most pride. i've said for a long time that the foreign affairs committee is the most bipartisan committee in congress. even at a time when our politics are so polarized, members of our committee have worked together to advance american interests, values and leadership around the world.
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we don't always agree. we've had heated debates in this chamber over war powers, weapons sales an more. but when we debate, we debate on the merits of a policy. then we cast our vote. immediately after we get back to working together toward policies that leave politics at the water's edge. we've always said that the foreign affairs committee is the most bipartisan committee in congress. and it is. we've always said that politics should stop at the water's edge when members of congress are leaving our country and going to other countries. because when we're there, democrats an republicans traveling together, we represent the united states of america. and so partisanship should stop at the water's edge. we've worked very hard to do that. michael mccaul has worked very
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hard to do that. i wish we would have more of that in congress. realizing that we're all representing our districts back home, our districts and constituencies are different. we are all trying to do the best we can. i respect my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who work hard. people coming up to me and wishing me congratulations come from both parties. ar for that i'm deeply, deeply grateful. as i said we don't always agree. we have had heated debates in this chamber over war powers, weapons sales and more. but when we debate, we debate on the merits of policy. then we cast our votes. immediately after we get back to working together toward policies that leaves politics at the water's edge. that's always been the culture of the foreign affairs committee. as i said before i'm grate to feel my partner in maintaining that tradition, our ranking
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member, my friend from texas, michael mccaul. we've become good friends. we've represented our country together overseas. and we've wrapped up a lot of legislative vi victories. i certainly will miss working with him. you know, members generally don't get to know each other. i said it before, if you're not on the same committee as someone, you will not know that person. if that person is not from your state, you probably won't know that person. and if you don't, you haven't traveled with that person or done other things, you won't know that person. we've got to change that we've got to know each other. we've got to work with each other. we've got to accept each other. we're all here because we love the united states of america. so with so much left on -- so with so much left on the foreign affairs committee to do, and i know gregory meeks will do a fine job leading the committee, in this 117th committee congress
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-- the 117th congress i hope the foreign affairs committee continues to take on these challenges. ongress needs to reclaim its authority that's been chipped away in deference to the executive branch, no matter who is in the executive branch. we need to make it a regular part of congress' work and congress needs to assert its authority over war powers. i'm confident the committee can do big thing that congress has the capacity to do big things, to govern. we're here to govern. we come to washington from 441 different communities, each with its unique character and concerns an priorities. that's 441 elected officials whose job it is to stand up for our constituents. to make their voices heard. but we cannot lose sight of the fact that the house of representatives, not 441 individuals, but the body we constitute, has a responsibility to govern.
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when i came here 32 years ago the two parties looked very different from the way they look now. southern democrats and rockefeller republicans. the diffusion of political ideologies across the aisle made it necessary for the two sides to seek out compromise if the house was going to get its work done. as the parties have realigned over the years, it's becoming harder and harder for the house to advance anything that stands a chance of becoming law exempt noncontroversial measures or must-pass legislation like the defense authorization and spending bills. frankly, again, as i said, it's become harder and harder just to get to know one another. i'm a pretty progress i democrat by most measures. i've always thought it was important to cultivate relationships with my republican colleagues. so we need to try to build cross-party bonds. we need to work together with all members.
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of the house. i may disagree with someone on 95% of policy questions, but if you don't know a person you don't stand a chance of finding the 5% in common and trying to build on it. if you don't know a person, it's so much easier to dismiss his or her motives and that's really where things start to fall apart. . no member of this congress does love america. the best way to improve the people. the american but we all love our country. and i worry that more and more mistrust the other side were saddled with purity tests difficult to build relationships and seek common ground. to resist the urge to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. mean abandoning our principles or losing sight of
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our goals. acknowledging that progress in our political system takes time and perseverance. understanding that as convinced as i might be that my a big the correct one, chunk of this body and of this disagree. likely to it means taking wins where we an get them even if they're modest, because when we accomplish even a little bit of vice presidedon't so in party. of an idea or a we've done it for the american people. it means to govern, and we're here to govern. for example, i'm a proud member for all caucus. going all the way back to my in in the state house albany, i supported single payer health care. i hope to see medicare for all lifetime. but that hasn't stopped me over he last three decades from voting for legislation that i
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thought would move the needle in the right direction. was never under the illusion that we would get there with one swing. children's et the health insurance program. we did get the affordable care differencehas made a in the lives of millions of americans. progress, which we're defending even today. decade lso more than a go and our country still faces massive challenges when it comes to health care and a range of other issues. owe it to the american people to try to govern, to try to work together, not to reflexively says, what the other side not try to make political gains not ignore election, facts and science and reality ecause political allegiances demand it and, yes, that means acknowledging the results of month's election and supporting a smooth transfer of
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power next month when biden takes ct office as president of the united states. given the ution has american people this body, the house of representatives, and in the house has given our country the 13th amendment, women, social security and medicare, the civil ights act, the voting rights act. they weren't easy victories, but in congress essors hadn't tried, they would never been there at all. as we enter a dark winter of a light c, we know there's at the end of the tunnel. oday in the united kingdom and soon in the united states, the most vulnerable are being accinated against this deadly disease. that soon will happen here. before uch work remains we can get back to normal. people are out of work, out of of food, and the american people will look to
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this body to govern. my heart that we can put the american people first the call at this ivotal moment in our country's history. the future success of the american people depends on the of the house in meeting this challenge. of 'll be rooting for all you. it's been a pleasure being your colleague. working a pleasure with you. it's been a pleasure watching hard you work and what we do for the american people. letting me be your colleague. thank you for being so kind to me and my family. know, when my son, who's now came to thee child, house when i was first elected, 2 years old. and my daughter was 7. other son my wasn't -- i have to put this
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back. wasn't born yet. point to the capitol and used to say, capitol, daddy works there. would all kind of laugh and think it was really, really cute. he's 34 years old. and my three children have grown congress, with the house, and they know how much it member of to be a this house and how much it means the things earn all that we've been doing for the years.veral i'll never forget this place. i hope to come back and visit times. i'll never forget my colleagues and my friends. 'll never forget that i am fortunate and we are fortunate this americans, to love country, to help move the policies that we think are best for the country
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world. the so i won't be a member here, but i certainly will continue to many friends here and will what this congress does. e have some tremendously talented people. again, i want to thank the peaker, nancy pelosi, the majority leader, steny hoyer, well, who really have helped me and have been parcel for what i've done. as well.rn, thank you , life is ues bittersweet, and there are happy and sad things that sometimes together. i'm happy because i had the privilege of serving here. happy because i like to think that i've done good for
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this country, but i'm sad to be leaving this body. my colleagues, i'll be watching you, i will be proud, i see what goes on, and i will stand by the tv or any say, these are my colleagues, and they're very, good. they care. a s been an honor and privilege to be a member of ofgress in the united states america. i'm so grateful to have had that privilege. thank you to all my colleagues. god bless and america. thank you. i yield back t >> denver riggleman was elected to the house in 2018, replacing fellow republican tom garrett who did not run for reelection.

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