January 28, 2021

US Democrats pick Meeks to chair House Foreign Affairs Committee | US & Canada

United States Congressman Gregory Meeks has been elected the brand new chairman of the Home International Affairs Committee, making him the primary African American to guide 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’m extremely honored to be elected,” Meeks stated in a press release after his victory.

He stated the committee within the incoming Congress would “preside over a historic shift in US international coverage”, promising to work to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and the World Well being Group, each of which President Donald Trump withdrew from throughout his time within the White Home.

“This won’t be a return to regular, however a leap in the direction of a brand new manner of doing enterprise,” Meeks stated.

He stated meaning 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, akin to local weather change.

“We might want to take again Congress’ constitutional authority, tightening the scope of AUMFs which have led to ambiguous perpetually wars,” Meeks additionally stated.

We might want to take again Congress’ constitutional authority, tightening the scope of AUMFs which have led to ambiguous perpetually wars,

Gregory Meeks

In a assertion on Thursday, Castro – the extra progressive of the 2 candidates for the committee chairmanship – stated he appeared ahead to working with Meeks, “notably on our frequent targets akin to selling range on the US State Division and rejoining the Iran nuclear deal”.

Meeks will take over from Eliot Engel, one other New York Democrat who, in June, misplaced a Democratic main for his Home seat.

“I’m assured that [Meeks] will even carry ahead the committee’s custom of legislating and oversight pushed by what’s greatest for American pursuits, not partisan acquire,” Engel stated in a press release.

“As my time as Chairman involves an finish, I’m glad to be leaving the gavel in such good palms.”

The Home International Affairs Committee is accountable for legislative oversight on a variety of international coverage points, together with US struggle powers, nationwide safety affecting international coverage and international help, amongst different issues.

Priorities and coverage positions

Meeks advised 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 Division of State.

“The State Division is at its lowest in morale in the entire 22 years that I’ve been in Congress,” Meeks stated. “As I discuss to diplomats, profession diplomats, it’s unbelievable from what they inform 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 “most strain” marketing campaign in opposition to Iran.

He additionally stated that the US president’s choice to tug the US out of a multilateral nuclear deal – beneath which the Iranian authorities agreed to curb its nuclear programme in change for a lifting of sanctions – was “a mistake”.


Earlier yr, Meeks known as for conditioning US support to Israel to strain the nation to abide by worldwide legislation and respect human rights, however he rapidly reversed his place.

“We all know the acute significance within the area to be sure that Israel has the appropriate to defend itself, and the {dollars} that we give Israel to defend itself [are] absolute and unequivocal,” Meeks stated, as reported by The Instances of Israel.

Meeks has been a staunch defender of Israel inside the Democratic Celebration, tweeting in 2018 that “Israel is our strongest ally and I help its proper 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 serious milestone for the area”.

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.

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