Foreign Policy for America Statement on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Election

December 3, 2020

Foreign Policy for America Statement on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Election

Washington, DC – Foreign Policy for America congratulates the newly elected House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Chair, Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY-5). Rep. Meeks has more than two decades of legislative experience. After four years of the Trump administration, he will be a powerful voice for revitalizing the State Department and restoring diplomacy as America’s tool of first resort.

For two centuries, HFAC has played an integral role in U.S. foreign policy decision making. The committee conducts oversight and considers legislation impacting the entire U.S. diplomacy apparatus – its jurisdiction ranges from oversight of State Department and USAID, to human rights and democracy, to arms sales. In recent years, Congress, and specifically HFAC, has ceded many of its powers to the executive branch. We look forward to supporting Rep. Meeks, the committee, and Congress as a whole as they reclaim those congressional powers.

In its nearly 200-year-long history, HFAC has had only one chairperson who was not a white man. This mirrors the lack of diversity in State Department leadership, a status quo Rep. Meeks has been vocal about improving upon. Strengthening the diversity and vitality of the State Department is also a priority of the Biden-Harris administration. We look forward to seeing the committee and the administration advance this priority together.

Rep. Meeks, one of the senior members of the committee, has served as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 5th congressional district since 1998. During his time in Congress, Rep. Meeks has established a reputation of bipartisanship, an important trait for the Chair of this historically bipartisan committee. An advocate of the working class and human rights, Rep. Meeks will be a strong ally for principled foreign policy in his new role as HFAC’s Chair. Most recently, he introduced important legislation prohibiting federal funds from paying for Russia’s participation in the G7 global meeting. This was a direct rebuke of President Trump’s push for Moscow to rejoin other world powers after it was expelled for annexing the Crimean Peninsula.

Foreign Policy for America looks forward to seeing HFAC undertake other important initiatives under his leadership. We are thrilled to work with Rep. Meeks in the 117th Congress to revitalize the State Department, ramp up investment in diplomacy and other non-military tools of engaging the world, and restore diplomacy to the center of American foreign policy.