Entries in Rep. Eliot Engel (2)


Rep. Eliot Engel: The Sequester Is ‘Stupid’

ABC (WASHINGTON) – Speaking Sunday morning on ABC News’ This Week, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, called the automatic spending cuts — also known as the “sequester” — that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1 a “stupid thing.”

“I think the sequester was a stupid thing. I voted against it the first time it came up. Congress keeps kicking the can down the road. It’s really a ridiculous thing to do. The fact is that we need to do things that are smart, not take a meat cleaver and just hack cuts,” Engel said. “I think Congress should sit down and avoid the sequester. And if the sequester kicks in, for a week or two, we should then fix it so it doesn’t become a permanent thing.”

Engel, the Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member, was joined on the This Week roundtable by House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who warned that sequestration would affect national security.

“There will be [an] impact on national security, there is no doubt. And I think there’s some misnomers. So it’s really only 2 cents on the dollar over the whole federal budget, but they’ve scrunched that down into seven months and highlighted, or at least put most of the burden on the Defense Department. So that is going to have an impact. That’s a 13 percent cut,” Rogers said.

Rogers went on to argue for making the departments responsible for giving the cuts “flexibility” to ensure the cuts are made wisely as opposed to indiscriminately.

“There’s a big difference from a sailor on the Eisenhower out in the Mediterranean and the travel coordinator at the EPA.  You can’t treat them the same.  And the way this is structured it treats everyone the same. Can’t do that,” Rogers said. “We have intelligence operations that could get slowed down or stopped.  That’s a problem.”

Automatic spending cuts will go into effect on March 1 if a deal to avert it is not reached before that time. Lawmakers, unable to agree on the makeup of a possible deal, have not been able to reach a deal to avoid the looming cuts. President Obama has called for an alternative that includes both spending cuts and new revenue. Republican leaders have said new revenue is off the table.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Democratic Rep. Engel to Obama: ‘Talk to Congress’

engel[dot]house[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s decision to use military force in Libya has been met with bipartisan blowback, with even some of the president’s allies criticizing him for not consulting with members of Congress more extensively.

On ABC’s “Top Line” Thursday, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel -- who has voiced support for the president’s actions -- said the president may be acting beyond his constitutional responsibilities if the U.S. continues to lead operations beyond “the first week or so.”

Asked if the president is acting within his authority, Engel, D-N.Y., said: “I think he has if we get out in a fairly quickly way. I think if this is something that's prolonged and we are around for weeks and months, then I think not. But everything that the president has indicated to me is that we expect to be in and out very quickly.”

Engel, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he’s concerned that a mission that started out well-defined might grow “murky” now that the initial objective of imposing a no-fly zone has been achieved.

“I think it sort of takes on a life of its own, unfortunately,” Engel added. “I think we're limited to the fact that, No. 1, we want to protect civilians in that was extensively the reason we went in, and I think that was a good reason for going in.”

“The other hand -- and the big question that is really kind of left out there as the game is played -- is what happens to Gadhafi? Is part of the mission regime change? To get rid of him? That's a little murky. That's a little unclear.”

“It seems to me that if we go in and we prevent him with a no-fly zone which I and others have called for, if we prevent him from murdering his own people do we just leave him kind of lying there so that when we pull out he can move back in? That really troubles me a bit.”

The president should better define the nation’s mission, Engel said. That means having to ask Congress for approval “at some point.”

“I think the president, as I said, as this goes down should speak to the American people. I know he already has. Also I think he needs to come to Congress and talk to Congress. I think that Congress could give him a stamp of approval for doing this. Congress obviously has powers that we take very seriously.”

“And as I said, if it's just something that's going to last a few weeks, then I think the president acted properly. But if it's something that we feel is going to be bogging us down for weeks and months then I think the president has to at that point come to Congress.”

Engel also said GOP criticism of the president has been largely disingenuous.

“Right now we should all rally around the president. It really is disheartening for me to see my Republican colleagues criticize the president and say he waited too long, or he shouldn't have gone, or he's out of the country. Whatever they can think of to criticize him, they do it. But when President Bush was leading the war in Iraq they kept saying that everyone should rally around the president in time of war.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio