The Armenian National Committee of America welcomed the election of a longtime friend of Armenia and Artsakh, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), as the incoming Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Chairman Engel, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, represents New York’s 16th Congressional District, which includes portions of the Bronx and Westchester County. The ANCA of New York has strong ties with Congressman Engel, who has, over the past decade, consistently received an “A” grade on his ANCA Congressional Report Card.
“We look forward to working with Chairman Engel and his capable staff as he takes the helm of the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee,” remarked ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. “In the spirit of cooperation that characterized our work with his predecessor, Chairman Royce, we are eager to work together on a broad array of policy priorities, including strengthening bilateral ties between Armenia and the United States and implementing the Royce-Engel proposals for Artsakh peace.”
A perennial proponent of legislation reaffirming the Armenian Genocide, Chairman Engel took a lead role in supporting Artsakh regional peace by working closely with former Chair Ed Royce (R-CA) and over 100 Congressional colleagues on three common-sense Artsakh proposals, including the removal of snipers, an increase in Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors, and the placement of gun-fire locators along the line of contact. Armenia and Artsakh have both agreed to the proposals; Azerbaijan has refused.
Chairman Engel participated in a House Foreign Affairs Committee Congressional delegation visit (CODEL) to Armenia in 2014, participating in commemorative events marking the Armenian Genocide. During the visit, Chairman Engel called on Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide and offer an apology.
Following Armenia’s Velvet Revolution in 2018, Chairman Engel encouraged Trump Administration officials to meet with Prime Minister Pashinyan and advocated for expanded democracy assistance to Armenia.
Chairman Engel is joined by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) as the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which currently consists of 39 members of the U.S. House.
Following his election to serve as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Engel released the following statement: “I’m honored that my colleagues have unanimously elected me chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Congress has an important role to play in foreign policy, and I’m committed to making sure we live up to those responsibilities. Diplomacy and development are critical to our national security. These efforts help advance our interests, strengthen friendships and alliances, and stop conflicts before they start. We must do all we can to support the public servants carrying out this work, including making an annual State Department authorization a central part of the Committee’s activity. As Chairman, I’ll ensure the Committee places a renewed emphasis on America’s overseas alliances—particularly NATO. We’ll work to underscore the importance of American values—human rights, democracy, and the rule of law—as pillars of our foreign policy. And, we will bring a new focus to issues including climate change and the root causes of migration.”
In the recently concluded 115th Congress, Congressman Engel also served on the Energy and Commerce Committee including the Subcommittee on Health, and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. He is the founder and Co-Chair of the House Oil and National Security Caucus, which is seeking clean, energy efficient alternatives to America’s over-reliance on oil. He also sits on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, the Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Anti-Semitism, the HIV/AIDS Caucus, the Long Island Sound Caucus, and the Animal Protection Caucus, among others.
Congressman Engel was born in the Bronx on February 18, 1947. He grew up in a city housing project and attended New York City public schools. In 1969, he graduated from Hunter-Lehman College with a B.A. in History and received a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1973 from Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. In 1987, he received a law degree from New York Law School. For twelve years prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Engel served in the New York State Assembly (1977-1988), where he chaired the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, as well as the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama Housing. Prior to that, he was a teacher and guidance counselor in the New York City public school system. A lifelong resident of the Bronx, Congressman Engel is married to Pat Engel. They have three children.