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Eliot Engel

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Eliot Engel is a Democratic representative, elected in 1988, for the 17th District of New York, containing the New York City borough of the Bronx and the suburbs of Rockland County and Westchester County. He was elected after service in the New York State Assembly, and, earlier, as a teacher in the New York City schools.

Energy and environment

He introduced the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy (DRIVE) Act, of which many provisions were successfully included in the energy bill that was signed into law on December 19, 2007.

National and homeland security

While he had been a founding board member of the ostensibly nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies, when that group, in February 2008, created a subsidiary organization, Defense of Democracies, which operates from the same physical offices but has a different nonprofit tax status (i.e., 501(c)(4) versus the FDD's 501(c)(3)) that allows it to participate in partisan politics, he and other Democrats resigned in protest after Defense of Democracies then ran a television advertising campaign, in 15 Congressional districts; it was believed to suggest that Democrats are soft on Islamic terrorism. In the ads, Osama bin Laden's face was in close time proximity to that of Democratic congressmen. Engel was joined in resigning by Sen. Chuck Schumer, former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, Rep. Jim Marshall Georgia had resigned. [1]

He wrote the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, which put pressure on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon. With respect to Israel, he sponsored to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. He supports clemency for Jonathan Pollard.[2]


Legislation he originated included the ALS Registry Act which established a national registry for the collection and storage of data on those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Rep. Engel also wrote the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Act which promoted research at Centers of Excellence for Muscular Dystrophy. Finally, in the "Public and Teaching Hospital Preservation Act"he blocked several Bush Administration Medicaid regulations which would have harmed our hospitals' ability to provide care.

In global health, he successfully included his bill, the Stop Tuberculosis Now Act, in the improved reauthorization of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Assistance (PEPFAR). This measure provides increased U.S. support for international TB control activities and promotes research to develop new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines.

Human rights

Co-author of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, which addresses the child slave labor in the cocoa fields of Africa, he also is involved in reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He is co-chair ofCongressional Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, a bipartisan group of Representatives who work to foster the Irish Peace Process. Recipients of U.S. funds through the International Fund for Ireland must comply with the MacBride Principles (which oppose religious-based discrimination in employment and job-training)


Caucuses, groups, ratings


  • B.A. in History, Hunter-Lehman College,1969
  • Master's Degree in Guidance and Counseling, Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York, 1973
  • Law degree, New York Law School, 1987


  1. Spencer Ackerman (26 February 2008), "‘Bipartisan’ Think Tank Attacks Democrats: Democratic Board Members Quit After 15 TV Ads Run in Blue Districts", Washington Independent
  2. John Batchelor and Paul Alexander Show (23 June 2001), WABC Radio