Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Meeks Issues Statement Seeking Chairmanship of House Committee on Foreign Affairs

July 17, 2020
Press Release

Today, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, senior Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs made the following statement announcing he is seeking the Chairmanship of the Committee. Congressman Meeks has served as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, is a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, and co-Chair of the EU, Brazil, Colombia and Peru caucuses.

“I am proud to announce that I am seeking the Chairmanship of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Congress, as an equal branch of government, must play a strident role in reshaping and rebuilding America’s place in the world.  It is the duty of Congress to exercise its broad jurisdiction through this Committee.       

“The world is more interconnected than it has ever been.  Whether it’s a pandemic, climate change, or a financial crisis, our greatest challenges are not confined by international borders; they are global and require international cooperation and partnership.  Our hearings, legislative action, oversight, and interparliamentary engagement must reflect this understanding. 

“I have spent my career dedicated to forming relationships not just with our allies, but also with our competitors, including forging pathways forward with our adversaries. I worked actively to push the Iran nuclear agreement through Congress. While it is never easy to remove barriers and normalize diplomatic relations, these steps are necessary for overcoming global threats and placing our nation in the strongest position possible to negotiate where conflict is intractable.  I believe it often requires greater courage to prioritize diplomacy over intervention and human rights over convenience. As a New York member who voted against the Iraq war, I understand these choices may not always be popular, but this has always been my guiding principle and practice. 

“We face now a new and unique crisis: a crisis of credibility in the United States because of the dismantling of America’s global standing at the hands of the current administration. During a time of worldwide struggle for social justice, rising authoritarianism, and deepening humanitarian crises, there is an urgent need for the U.S. to constructively reengage with the international community.  We must recommit where we reneged, re-engage international organizations that we once championed, and reimagine where we have been sclerotic in our thinking. We cannot continue to ensnare ourselves in forever wars and stretch AUMFs far beyond their intended purpose. More of the same is not an option. 

“However, America cannot inspire leadership and change without moral authority. The American story - of a nation that fought itself free from colonial rule and established that all men are created equal - is the story that first positioned America to become the global champion for liberty and democracy. But that story is also checkered – of a nation founded on the genocide of Native Americans, made prosperous through the labor of my enslaved ancestors, that holds children in cages who today seek refuge across our borders, and struggles still to deliver equality and justice for all. The United States’ ability to promote human rights and democratic values across the world is undermined if we don’t practice at home what we preach abroad, recognizing that foreign policy is inseparable from domestic policy.  Our international standing has always been linked to our ability to do better at home. 

“Like many, I’ve had the responsibility to meet with national leaders in Brussels and Beijing, but I have also led delegations to Bojayá and Gaborone: regions and people that have historically been overlooked by American foreign policy. I seek the Chairmanship in order to broaden America’s outlook to regions that are too often passed over by the traditional foreign policy establishment. I seek the Chairmanship to fight for the rights of indigenous populations and at-risk minority communities, from Afro-Latinos to the Uighurs in China and the LGBTQ community in Chechnya.

“American foreign policy cannot be consumed by only fixing what’s been fractured under this administration and poor decisions of the past.  We must move proactively forward, diversifying our diplomatic corps so it is as diverse as the nation it represents, redoubling our multilateral efforts to meet the scale of the challenges before us.  There is a wide array of talent and expertise among my colleagues that sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and throughout the Democratic Caucus. I have cultivated enduring relationships with foreign nations, and I believe I am now uniquely positioned to optimize and leverage the full scope of this committee’s expertise and jurisdiction. There is no more important time for us to rise to the occasion.”