Eliot Lance Engel (born February 18, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for New York's 17th congressional district, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously represented the 19th District from 1989 to 1993. The district consists of part of the Bronx (including the neighborhoods as Riverdale, Woodlawn, Norwood, Williamsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village, and Wakefield), parts of Westchester County (including all of Mount Vernon and parts of Yonkers, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-on-Hudson, and Tarrytown) and parts of Rockland County (including the towns of Ramapo and Orangetown and the southern half of Clarkstown).
Early life, education, and teaching career
Engel was born in the Bronx, the son of an ironworker. He grew up in a city housing project and attended New York City public schools.
In 1969, he graduated from Hunter-Lehman College with a Bachelor of Arts in history and received a master's degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1973 from Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. In 1987, he received a law degree from New York Law School. He began his political career in local Democratic clubs. He taught in New York City School District and was a guidance counselor. He taught Junior High School at Intermediate School 52 from 1969–1976 and at Intermediate School 174 after that.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1988, Engel ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district. He defeated incumbent Democrat Mario Biaggi in the primary with 48% of the vote. Biaggi had been charged with racketeering in the Wedtech scandal; he was eventually jailed by Rudy Giuliani.
He won the general election with 56% of the vote. He never won re-election with less than 61% in a general election. He only faced competitive primary elections (getting less than 70%) twice (1994 and 2000). In 1994, he defeated muscician Willie Colón 62%-38%. In 2000, Engel defeated State Senator Larry Seabrook, who had the support of Bronx County Democratic Party Chairman Roberto Ramirez, 50%-41%.
Engel received an "A" on the Drum Major Institute's 2005 Congressional Scorecard on middle-class issues.
He also received a 100% from the League of Conservation Voters for his record on the environment.
Engel has focused his attention on district issues and constituent service. Due to the high number of immigrants living in his district, his district staffers have served as liaisons between the newest Americans and the complex immigration system.
Engel received the "National Association of Public Hospitals Safety Net Award" in 2007 primarily for the introduction of The Public and Teaching Hospital Preservation Act. He also earned the "100% Perfection in the Pursuit of Equality" in 2002 from the Human Rights Campaign. Engel was presented with "The AIDS Institute National HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Award" in 2007 and is the 2008 "Distinguished Community Health Superhero" as deemed by the National Association of Community Health Centers.
Engel supports quality access to health care and refers to himself as pro-choice “all the way." Engel is a co-sponsor of the United States National Health Care Act, which would implement a single payer health care system in the United States. He was a strong supporter of the landmark Affordable Care Act, committing his vote only after securing provisions that New York would not be penalized for being a do-gooder state. . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfHacBIrykI.
In 2008, Engel authored the ALS Registry Act (P.L. 110-373) which established a national registry for the collection and storage of data on those suffering from ALS. He also authored the Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Act(P.L. 110-361) which promoted research at Centers of Excellence for Muscular Dystrophy.
He wrote the Partnering to Improve Maternity Care Quality Act, introduced in 2010, to improve maternity care for mothers and newborns and do so in partnership with doctors, advocates, payers and purchasers. In 2010, Engel wrote the Gestational Diabetes Act of 2010, which passed the House before not coming to a vote in the Senate. The legislation could be re-introduced in the 112th Congress for consideration. The legislation would provide for better tracking and research into gestational diabetes, which if untreated could lead to Type 2 diabetes for both mother and child.
In 2005, Engel introduced with Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) the Fuel Choices for American Security Act (H.R. 4409), later modified and reintroduced in 2007 as the DRIVE Act (H.R. 670) – the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy Act – with more than 80 bi-partisan co-sponsors. It was designed to promote America’s national security and economic stability by reducing dependence on foreign oil through the use of clean alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. It also called for increased tire efficiency – to increase a vehicle’s gas miles.
Many provisions of the DRIVE Act were included in the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was signed into law on December 19, 2007, and became Public Law No. 110-140. This law mandates increased fuel efficiency standards from 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The law also requires improved energy efficiency standards for appliances, lighting and buildings, and the development of American-grown biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and biobutanol.
On July 22, 2008, Engel introduced with Congressmen Kingston, Steve Israel (D-NY) and Bob Inglis (R-SC) the Open Fuel Standards Act. This bill requires 50 percent of new cars sold in the United States by 2012 (and 80 percent of new cars sold by 2015) to be flexible-fuel vehicles capable of running on any combination of ethanol, methanol or gasoline. Flex fuel vehicles cost about $100 more than the same vehicle in a gasoline-only version. This bill was resubmitted in the 111th United States Congress by Rep. Engel, Inglis, Israel and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD). It can be re-introduced in the 112th Congress.
Engel is the senior Representative from New York on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Representative from New York on the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. He played a key role in negotiating the American Clean Energy and Security Act, HR 2454, which passed the House on June 26, 2009. That legislation was intended to revitalize the economy by creating millions of new jobs, increase American national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil, and preserve the planet by reducing the pollution. It passed the House in 2009, but was not voted on by the Senate in the 111th Congress.
In 2010, Rep. Engel's Truth in Caller ID Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama, after the House passed Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) virtually identical legislation to Rep. Engel's bill. The new law cracks down on the use of fake caller ID, often used by criminals to trick their victims into giving out personal information. The legislation will help law enforcement combat identity theft.
Rep. Engel originally introduced the Securing our Borders and Our Data Act in July 2008, HR 6702. That bill would ensure that when a traveler enters the United States, a border agent cannot search or seize the traveler's data or equipment without cause. The legislation was reintroduced in the 111th Congress as HR 239. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security altered their rules to prevent agents from searching and seizing without cause. This encompassed much of Rep. Engel's legislation.
In the 109th Congress, Rep. Engel introduced the Calling Card Consumer Protection Act, HR 3402. The bill was intended to stop some of the massive fraud in the prepaid calling card industry. The legislation passed the House unanimously, but the Senate did not act on it. In 2011, Rep. Engel introduced the Drug Testing Integrity Act which would prohibit products to be sold that enable cheating on drug tests.
In 2010, Rep. Engel urged the Federal Housing Finance Agency to stop their plan to ban private transfer fees on cooperative apartment sales. Some developers and investors had been abusing the system by imposing transfer fees that would have provided them with percentages on all future sales of the property over many decades. The transfer fee when used correctly can help owners and developers fund projects and remain affordable. The FHFA decided not to pursue this plan in 2011.
December 30th, 2011