United States Congressman Gregory Meeks has been elected the brand new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, making him the primary African American to steer the highly effective congressional physique.
Meeks, a Democrat who represents New York’s fifth District and a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, defeated Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro in a vote of 148-78. Brad Sherman of California earlier dropped out of the race.
“I am incredibly honored to be elected,” Meeks mentioned in an announcement after his victory.
He mentioned the committee within the incoming Congress would “preside over a historic shift in US foreign policy”, promising to work to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and the World Health Organization, each of which President Donald Trump withdrew from throughout his time within the White House.
I’m extraordinarily honored to be elected Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The new period of US overseas coverage is not going to be only a return to regular, however a chance to broaden the committee focus and forge new coalitions to deal with world challenges.https://t.co/oY0hxyHJ05
— Rep. Gregory Meeks (@RepGregoryMeeks) December 3, 2020
“This will not be a return to normal, but a leap towards a new way of doing business,” Meeks mentioned.
He mentioned which means re-engaging with the US’s European allies, in addition to constructing new relationships within the Western Hemisphere and Africa and addressing key world points similar to local weather change.
“We will need to take back Congress’ constitutional authority, tightening the scope of AUMFs that have led to ambiguous forever wars,” Meeks additionally mentioned.
We might want to take again Congress’ constitutional authority, tightening the scope of AUMFs which have led to ambiguous perpetually wars,
In an announcement on Thursday, Castro – the extra progressive of the 2 candidates for the committee chairmanship – mentioned he appeared ahead to working with Meeks, “particularly on our common goals such as promoting diversity at the US State Department and rejoining the Iran nuclear deal”.
Meeks will take over from Eliot Engel, one other New York Democrat who, in June, misplaced a Democratic major for his House seat.
“I’m confident that (Meeks) will also carry forward the committee’s tradition of legislating and oversight driven by what’s best for American interests, not partisan gain,” Engel mentioned in an announcement.
“As my time as Chairman comes to an end, I’m glad to be leaving the gavel in such good hands.”
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is chargeable for legislative oversight on a spread of overseas coverage points, together with US conflict powers, nationwide safety affecting overseas coverage and overseas help, amongst different issues.
Priorities and coverage positions
Meeks informed US information outlet The Hill final month that if he received the chairmanship, he would give attention to rebuilding the nation’s relationships with its allies and rebuilding the US Department of State.
“The State Department is at its lowest in morale in all of the 22 years that I’ve been in Congress,” Meeks mentioned. “As I talk to diplomats, career diplomats, it is unbelievable from what they tell me as to the low morale and what has taken place there.”
In an interview with C-SPAN in September 2019, Meeks criticised Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” marketing campaign towards Iran.
He additionally mentioned that the US president’s determination to tug the US out of a multilateral nuclear deal – below which the Iranian authorities agreed to curb its nuclear programme in change for a lifting of sanctions – was “a mistake”.
Thrilled for the historical past making election of @RepGregoryMeeks as HFAC chair! I’m proud to hitch Rep. Meeks as he works to revive American world management & sensible, robust, diplomacy!
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) December 3, 2020
Earlier 12 months, Meeks known as for conditioning US assist to Israel to stress the nation to abide by worldwide regulation and respect human rights, however he shortly reversed his place.
“We know the extreme importance in the region to make sure that Israel has the right to defend itself, and the dollars that we give Israel to defend itself [are] absolute and unequivocal,” Meeks mentioned, as reported by The Times of Israel.
Meeks has been a staunch defender of Israel inside the Democratic Party, tweeting in 2018 that “Israel is our strongest ally and I support its right to defend itself.”
In August, he welcomed a US-brokered deal to normalise diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, calling it “a major milestone for the region”.
Palestinians rejected that settlement as a betrayal and an try by the Trump administration to assist Israel cement its management over the occupied Palestinian territories.