Engel Statement on Republican Attempts to Sabotage Medicare
“Yesterday’s report provides further proof that the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans’ irresponsible policies are hurting American families. By repealing the individual mandate, driving up individual market premiums, and increasing the rate of uncompensated care, the GOP is expected to drain the Medicare trust fund years sooner than anticipated. Their willingness to cut vital health programs is due in no small part to the tax scam they passed, which blew an additional trillion dollar hole in the deficit. So, to pay the price for their giveaways to the top 1 percent, Republicans are willing to sacrifice seniors’ health care.
“Just this week, we also learned that New Yorkers’ health insurance premiums are set to rise because of Republicans’ continued sabotage of our health care system. I am outraged that Americans, especially New Yorkers, are being forced to pay for the GOP’s political ploys. I will continue to hold the GOP accountable for their reckless governing.”
Engel Re-Introduces Anti-Swatting Act
Congressman Eliot Engel re-introduced the Anti-Swatting Act, a bill that would enhance penalties for people who falsify their caller ID information to mislead law enforcement.
“Just this morning, another serious incident of swatting occurred – this time at the home of Parkland survivor David Hogg. People who pull these dangerous ‘pranks’ are sick and need to be held financially and criminally responsible for their actions,” Engel said.
“Swatting” is the act of deceiving law enforcement by using falsified caller ID information to incite them to respond to a nonexistent emergency. Named for the SWAT teams that are frequently deployed in response to these phony emergency calls, swatting can cost taxpayers thousands of dollars every time a SWAT team is deployed, according to the FBI.
Swatting also risks injury to the unassuming victims who are present when law enforcement arrives at the supposed crime scene, as well as to the hardworking officials who rush to the scene anticipating danger. The act also illegitimately occupies law enforcement’s time, creating the risk that they will be unable to respond to an actual, life-threatening emergency in a timely fashion.
This past December, our nation experienced its first fatal swatting attack when a 28-year-old father of two in Wichita, Kansas was shot by police who were duped into thinking that they were responding to a hostage situation.
The Anti-Swatting Act seeks to curtail these hoaxes by enhancing penalties for people who falsify their caller ID information, a technological trick known as “spoofing,” with the intent of misleading law enforcement. In addition, the bill would force swatters to reimburse the emergency services that squander finite resources while responding to the false emergency.
“Multiple swatting incidents have occurred in and around my district, and each one puts innocent civilians and our brave first-responders at risk, while wasting time and tax dollars. In response, I am re-introducing the Anti-Swatting Act to make clear that this type of behavior is dangerous and criminal,” Engel said. “My bill will increase penalties for this despicable act, and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. We need to do everything we can to combat swatting, and I encourage my colleagues to support this important measure.”
ENGEL TO POMPEO: TURN OVER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO WHISTLEBLOWER CHARGES
Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is calling on Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo to honor his commitment and produce documents related to whistleblower allegations of improper conduct by Trump Administration officials. In a letter to the Secretary, Rep. Engel pressed the Secretary to provide a timeline for turning over these materials, which deal with actions taken against career State Department employees because of their national origin or perceived political beliefs.
“During your May 23 testimony before this Committee, you committed to providing us a timeline by the end of that week for the release of documents related to these allegations,” wrote Rep. Engel.
He continued, “The most recent attempts by my office to obtain these materials have been met with the response that ongoing investigations by the State Department Inspector General (OIG) and Office of Special Counsel (OSC) preclude the Department from complying with our oversight request. An official asserted to my staff that such an action would jeopardize these executive-branch-based investigations. I don’t accept this explanation.”
Full text of Rep. Engel’s letter follows and can be found here.
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I remain deeply concerned that Trump Administration appointees at the State Department have targeted career employees based on national origin or perceived political beliefs. During your May 23 testimony before this Committee, you committed to providing us a timeline by the end of that week for the release of documents related to these allegations.
Ranking Member Cummings and I made this request to your predecessor after whistleblowers provided evidence of these allegations. Heather Nauert, the acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, told reporters that our request would be fulfilled. Your May 23 testimony reiterated that commitment.
However, we have not received that timeline or any other acceptable response to our requests. Furthermore, correspondence to my staff from the Bureau of Legislative Affairs suggests the Department has no intention of fulfilling this commitment. The most recent attempts by my office to obtain these materials have been met with the response that ongoing investigations by the State Department Inspector General (OIG) and Office of Special Counsel (OSC) preclude the Department from complying with our oversight request. An official asserted to my staff that such an action would jeopardize these executive-branch-based investigations.
I don’t accept this explanation. No law or policy exists, to my knowledge, that would prevent the Department from turning over the requested documents while these other investigations go forward. Indeed, with your experience as a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, you understand that it’s entirely appropriate for Congress to conduct such an investigation on a track parallel to OIG or OSC efforts.
Therefore, I renew my request for these documents and expect, by the end of the week, an appropriate timeline for access to these materials.
ELIOT L. ENGEL