In early December, Meeks was named chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, becoming the first African-American member of Congress head the committee. He said he will use the position as a bully pulpit to stand up for human rights and economic justice.
Meeks said he will also have the opportunity to talk about the “failed foreign policies” of Trump, including pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Accords, which the congressman said he will focus on rejoining.
As chair, Meeks said he will assess how to move forward on better immigration policies and ending the “tariff wars” that Trump created, which the congressman said has driven up prices for Americans.
“America has been absent from the table,” he said. “Now, we can return to the table and work with our allies to get back a sense of trust. We need to work through diplomacy and dialogue rather than wars and bullets, which is more costly and expensive.”
Although he made history as the first African-American to hold the position, Meeks said he stands on the shoulders of pioneers like former Congressman Donald Payne Sr. from New Jersey, who served on the committee when Meeks was first elected to Congress, as well as African-American political leaders like Archie Spigner, David Dinkins and Charlie Rangel.
“When I think about all of the things happening around the world, to have someone who is a product of public housing, public schools, who happens to be African-American, who grew up after the civil rights movement and segregation,” Meeks said, “play a significant role in international policies of the United States of America, it’s an honor and a huge responsibility.”