When Congressman Eliot Engel spoke at the Scarsdale Forum Oct. 3, Scarsdale residents turned out in force to hear what the Democrat who represents New York’s 16th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, had to say.
“We haven’t done a lot of the things that need to be front and center of what we need to do, like health care and gun control,” Engel said. “The American people are unhappy. I’m unhappy with passing good laws in the House of Representatives only to have them die in the Senate because [Senator Mitch] McConnell won’t bring them up.”
Engel specifically touched on gun control, saying the many instances of gun violence is not something that should happen. On health care, Engel said he introduced legislation to strengthen protection coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions, while keeping prescription costs affordable.
“There’s no reason prescription drugs that are made in the United States should be costing the most in the United States,” Engel said, pointing out that, just this past week, he co-sponsored a bill with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate drug prices on behalf of American families.
Climate change is another vital issue, which threatens an individual’s way of life, the congressman said.
“As the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I knew it was important to hear from young people about climate change,” Engel said. “The younger generation knows what the Congress doesn’t seem to know — that reforms to [combat] climate change [were] supposed to start yesterday.”
Engel’s action on climate change has been to co-sponsor the Green New Deal, which aims to tackle climate change by achieving renewable energy by 2030.
Based on audience reaction, the most anticipated portion of Engel’s talk had to do with President Donald Trump and the impeachment inquiry.
“Impeachment is one of the most solemn responsibilities in the Constitution,” Engel said. “Having lived through the Nixon years and Watergate, I thought we’d never see anything like that again and here we are 45 years later.”
Engel said it should be easy to “to know right from wrong” in this matter. “You don’t have to be a rogue scholar to understand that if your elected official and you take an asset that doesn’t belong to you and offer it to bribe a foreign leader, it doesn’t pass the smell test,” Engel said.
He said while he’s not a fan of President Trump, he’s worried for the country and the democracy. If the same thing happened but with a Democrat leader, Engel said he’d be just as outraged.
So, Engel said he hopes the inquiry isn’t dragged out over a long period of time.
“I hope impeachment won’t turn into a political battle,” the congressman said. “What Trump did appears to be very serious and warrants articles of impeachment. We have to keep at it, but we need to be careful of not having it turn into a political witch hunt.”