Eliot L Engel

House votes to take stand against anti-Semitism in an unexpected way
Language on anti-Semitism was added to Yemen resolution through a surprising Republican motion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swears in members in the Capitol's House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to take a stand against anti-Semitism in all forms and did it in an unexpected way.  

The vote was surprising because the language was added to an unrelated resolution on removing U.S. armed forces assisting the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen through a Republican motion to recommit. The motion to recommit is a procedural tool of the House minority, and it is typically used to message against a measure offered by the majority.

House Democratic leaders, chairmen criticize Omar for ‘anti-Semitic trope’
McCarthy says House Republicans will ‘take action’ this week

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said tweets from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., about a pro-Israel lobbying group buying off members of Congress "invoke the anti-Semitic trope of 'Jewish money.'" (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Democratic leadership team and key Jewish committee chairmen on Monday joined a chorus of criticism against freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for tweets suggesting that a pro-Israel lobbying group was buying off members of Congress.

Republicans have been attacking the Minnesota Democrat for several weeks for supporting the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and making comments against the Israeli government. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he is likely to take action against Omar and another BDS supporter, Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib — the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

Trump vs. Pelosi: 5 takeaways from their tit-for-tat as shutdown plods on
Nixing Afghanistan trip also was a direct blow to House Dems’ oversight plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump have continued trading barbs in recent days. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump continued their high-stakes game of tit-for-tat Friday, even as the 28-day partial government shutdown plodded on with no signs of any restart of negotiations. 

White House aides scurried about Friday, initially declining to directly address a bombshell report that Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later called the story “categorically false.”)

Photos of the week: Snow and a bus ride to nowhere as the shutdown continues
The week of Jan. 14 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., takes questions from constituents during his town hall meeting on the government shutdown at the Largo-Kettering Branch Library in the Washington suburbs on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The shutdown is approaching its fifth week, seemingly with no end in sight. Lawmakers are planning to be in session next week, despite the typical annual recess following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

The past week saw several town halls on the shutdown, a good deal of snow for the capital area and escalating tensions between the president and the speaker. 

When life gives you shutdowns
But hey, at least the U.S. isn’t hurtling toward Brexit

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus Thursday, before being dropped at the Rayburn Building after President Donald Trump canceled military support for an overseas congressional trip Engel and other lawmakers were scheduled to take. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s Week Four of the partial government shutdown. About 800,000 people have missed paychecks, and a lot of them are working for free at the behest of the executive branch. There is no end in sight. The State of the Union is canceled, kind of. The president tells you to cancel your military flight, but you can go ahead and fly commercial — after all, TSA is working for no money. And the only silver lining seems to be: At least we’re not Britain! 

You’re on the bus. You’re headed to the airport — and the president of the United States puts the kibosh on your trip to Afghanistan. Who hasn’t had that happen? When the commander in chief yanks military support for a dangerous trip to a war zone by someone in the presidential line of succession. 

Trump abruptly cancels military support for Pelosi overseas trip
Treasury delegation‘s Davos trip is also off

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus originally scheduled to take a congressional delegation to their flight for an overseas trip. Minutes earlier, President Donald Trump had postponed all congressional trips, so Engel was subsequently dropped at the Rayburn Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:33 p.m. | In apparent retaliation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plea that President Donald Trump delay his State of the Union address due to the government shutdown, Trump has canceled all military support for a previously unannounced congressional delegation trip the speaker was scheduled to take.

“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

Senate set to assert itself on Syria sanctions, Middle East policy early in 2019
New Syria sanctions appear to be among the top legislative priorities

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jim Risch are leading the first bill introduced in the Senate in the new Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is moving quickly to assert its point-of-view on U.S. policy regarding Syria and in the broader Middle East, and it could serve as a rebuttal to the decision by President Donald Trump to pull back U.S. forces from Syria.

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the first piece of legislation on the first day of the new Congress (designated as S 1), and it could lay a marker  on the situation in Syria and the Middle East. The backers include the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

House Foreign Affairs Eyes New Subcommittee to Investigate Trump
Focus would be potential financial ties between foreign governments and the president

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., is expected to chair the Foreign Affairs panel come January. The panel could add an investigations subcommittee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is planning a reorganization in the new Congress that would emphasize investigating the Trump administration as Democrats take control of the chamber.

The anticipated changes, which include plans to streamline the subcommittee structure, were outlined in conversations with three House staffers, who added that the focus would be potential financial ties between foreign governments and President Donald Trump. The staffers were not authorized to be quoted discussing the changes in advance of official action.

White House Shocked by Lawmakers’ Shock Over Trump‘s Syria Decision
White House, Pentagon cannot point to any troop withdrawal plan or final exit date

President Donald Trump is gearing up to withdraw troops from Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 4:05 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Wednesday abruptly declared victory against the Islamic State inside Syria and ordered the Pentagon to withdrawal all American military troops from the war-torn country. Lawmakers were blindsided, but senior administration officials claimed there was no reason for their confusion.

The commander in chief’s decision should have been “no surprise” to lawmakers, said a senior administration official who briefed reporters Wednesday afternoon. She declined to discuss whether Trump caught his Cabinet-level or White House national security officials off guard or whether there had been internal discussions prior to Wednesday morning.

House, Senate Democrats Identify Slate of Committee Leaders for New Congress
House Dem Caucus must still ratify, Senate is ready to go

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has his roster of ranking members for committees ready. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats have identified their incoming committee leadership for the 116th Congress, although the full caucus must still weigh in and a few key chairs will have to wait until the House speakership contest is settled. In the Senate meanwhile, the roster is finished, with some notable movement in the smaller Democratic minority. 

The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee made its recommendations for most committee chairmanships in the new Congress on Tuesday evening, with a few others designated Monday. The full caucus must still approve the choices.