Current Position: US Representative for NY District 5 since 1998
Former Position(s): State Delegate from 1993 – 1998
Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee
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I wanted Amazon HQ2 deal to be inclusive: Rep. Greg Meeks
Foreign Policy, – September 10, 2021
The powerful chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is set to unveil a bill to levy new U.S. sanctions on oil and gas, some of Myanmar’s most important industries, and prod the State Department to determine whether Myanmar’s crimes against the Rohingya minority constitute a genocide.
Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks is planning to introduce the legislation in the coming weeks, an effort to pressure the nation’s military junta to pursue political reconciliation. It comes just as Myanmar’s shadow government declared war on the regime earlier this week, threatening to upend months of efforts led by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc to bring the military to the table for talks.
“We want these to be targeted sanctions,” a congressional aide involved in drafting the bill told Foreign Policy on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations informing the legislation. “We’ve been fairly broad in the legislation to give the administration the flexibility to go after the enterprises [and] entities that are being actively controlled by the military … and allowing them to continue their violence.”
The bill, which will have a companion version in the Senate, would target Myanmar’s oil and gas industry and gem production, as well as top military officials and members of the junta government, which took power in a February coup. Aides are also working on humanitarian provisions that would give millions of dollars in aid directly to the Myanmar people and refugees in countries like Thailand. Meeks also wants the U.S. government to hold China and Russia to account for their support of the military regime by highlighting the issue at the United Nations.
Source: Government page
Serving the people of New York’s Fifth Congressional District has been the focus of Congressman Gregory W. Meeks’ seventeen year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time he has earned the respect of his constituents, as well as both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and in New York, as an effective, common-sense leader who gets things done. The economic vitality and wellbeing of the Fifth Congressional District stays front and center for Congressman Meeks who sits on two important and prominent committees in the House: the Financial Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressman Meeks is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, and is the former chairman of the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade. He currently serves as a senior member of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. A critical committee for the state of New York, the Financial Services Committee oversees all components of the nation’s housing and financial services sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities. The Committee continually reviews the laws and programs relating to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and international development and finance agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Congressman Meeks serves as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. He is also a senior member on the Western Hemisphere subcommittee. At a time when the world is more interconnected than ever before, the Foreign Affairs Committee has an important role to play. The Committee is responsible for oversight and legislation relating to: foreign assistance; the Peace Corps; national security developments affecting foreign policy; strategic planning and agreements; war powers, treaties, executive agreements, and the deployment and use of United States Armed Forces; peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and enforcement of United Nations or other international sanctions; arms control and disarmament issues; the United States Agency for International Development; activities and policies of the State, Commerce and Defense Departments and other agencies related to the Arms Export Control Act, and the Foreign Assistance Act.
Congressman Meeks seeks to promote policies that strengthen America’s economic and national security and build relationships with other nations in a more globalized world. He is a strong supporter of diplomacy and as such is a co-chair of the Brazil Caucus and Colombia Caucus in the House of Representatives. He also co-chairs the New Dem Task Force on Trade, the Services Caucus to promote the advancement of trade in services, and the Organization of American States Caucus to facilitate a stronger, more cooperative hemisphere. Congressman Meeks earned his bachelor’s degree at Adelphi University and he received his law degree from Howard University. He is a member of the Allen AME Church in St. Albans New York and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He is married to Simone-Marie Meeks and has three daughters – Ebony, Aja, and Nia-Aiyana.
- Member of the Congressional Black Caucus
- Co Chair of the European Union Caucus
- Co Chair of the Services Caucus
- Co Chair of the Malaria Caucus and Neglected Tropical Diseases
Washington, DC Office
Phone: (202) 225-3461
Fax: (202) 226-4169
Phone: (718) 725-6000
Fax: (718) 725-9868
Rockaway Peninsula Office
Phone: (347) 230-4032
Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953) is an American lawyer and politician who has been a U.S. representative from New York since 1998. He is a member of the Democratic Party and has chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since 2021.
In the last Congress, Meeks’s district included most of southeastern Queens, including Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, and the John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was made up largely of working-, middle-, and upper-middle-class African-American and West Indian American communities, but also included a small part of Ozone Park and part of Howard Beach known as Old Howard Beach, both of which are predominantly middle-class Italian-American communities. He also represented much of Kew Gardens and northern Richmond Hill, as well as the largely Irish American western part of Rockaway Peninsula.
Early life, education, and career
Born in East Harlem, New York City and raised in a housing project, Meeks received his B.A. degree from Adelphi University and his J.D. degree from Howard University School of Law. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He worked as an Assistant District Attorney and for the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York before joining the Investigations Commission on official misconduct and organized crime. He then was Supervising Judge for the New York State Workers Compensation System. Meeks was a member of the New York State Assembly (31st D.) from 1993 to 1998.
House of Representatives
Meeks was criticized for initially supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama for president. His House primary election challenger was to be Ruben Wills, a former chief of staff for State Senator Shirley Huntley and an organizer for Obama. Wills said, “I was on board with Obama from Day 1; Meeks had to be dragged across the line.” Some suggested that a young black political class was seeking to assert the neighborhood’s power against what it saw as an older establishment, based in Harlem, that had long exercised disproportionate influence in New York City. Wills did not qualify for the ballot, so no primary election took place.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Meeks one of the most corrupt members of Congress in 2011. It was subsequently reported that his continuing ethical and criminal probes would cause his premature exit from Congress, but Meeks has denied this. In October 2011, hiphop artist and law school graduate Mike Scala announced his candidacy in the Democratic primary. Meeks won the primary and was reelected in the November general election with 90% of the vote.
In July 2020, after the primary defeat of House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel, Meeks declared his candidacy for chair. On December 3, 2020, Meeks defeated Joaquin Castro in a caucuswide vote, 148-78.
Tax cuts for the wealthy
In November 2021, Meeks called for increasing the cap on SALT deductions, which would entail tax cuts for the wealthy.
On August 25, 2007, Silvestre Reyes, chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee, and four other representatives visited American troops deployed in the southern Philippines to overview the US-Philippines relationship. Reyes headed the bipartisan delegation, which included Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, member of the Appropriations Committee and the select intelligence oversight panel; Heather Wilson of the Committee on Energy and the Intelligence Committee; Meeks; and Dutch Ruppersberger of the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees. They drove to the base of the Joint Special Operation Task Force Philippines (JSOTFP), a US-led body that trains Filipino soldiers against terror in Barangay Upper Calarian.
Fall of Afghanistan
On the day of the fall of Kabul, Meeks said in a statement that the Taliban victory was “inevitable”. He also said, “It is abundantly clear that the Taliban’s advance was ultimately inevitable, at least without a commitment to surge tens of thousands of U.S. troops for an unknown span of time. That is a commitment the American public has made clear it does not support.”
2013 CREW report
In 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Meeks as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington. This was as a result of claims that he purchased a home for over $150,000 less than it was worth, met with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez on behalf of a donor, and failure to disclose a private loan on congressional financial statements.
Congressional auto lease
The New York Times reported that Meeks utilizes the option to use tax dollars to lease a car for use as a member of Congress. This option does not exist for Senate members. The lease is forgone by many members of Congress, but Meeks has held the most-expensive lease among all members. He has used tax dollars to lease a 2007 Lexus LS 460 for $998 per month. Meeks was unwilling to provide further comment when questioned by the Times about the lease arrangement, saying, “These are never lighthearted stories.”
- Committee on Financial Services
- Committee on Foreign Affairs (Chair)
- As Meeks is chair of the committee as a whole, he serves as an ex officio member on all subcommittees.
- Co-chair of the Dialogue Caucus
- Co-chair of the Malaysia Caucus
- Co-chair of the Middle East Economic Partnership Caucus
- Co-chair of the Services Caucus
- Co-chair of the Caucus on US Russian Trade and Economic Relations
- House Baltic Caucus
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- U.S.-Japan Caucus
- Congressional Black Caucus,
- International Conservation Caucus
- New Democrat Coalition
- Afterschool Caucuses.
- Lipton, Eric; Hernandez, Raymond (March 20, 2010). “Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree”. The New York Times.
- Lawrence Kestenbaum. “Alpha Phi Alpha Politicians”. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
- Hernandez, Raymond (July 1, 2008). “A New Campaign Charge: You Supported Clinton”. The New York Times.
- Obama Forces Back Challenges To Meeks In SE Queens Primary | www.qgazette.com | Queens Gazette
- Staff (2012). “Gregory Meeks (D-NY)”. CREW’s Most Corrupt. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- Vincent, Isabel; Klein, Melissa (October 2, 2011). “Pushing Meeks out door”. New York Post.
- U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (November 3, 2011). “Meeks Clears Air”. Queens Tribune. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- Queens-Politics (October 28, 2011). “Scala Seeks Democratic Endorsement For 6th Congressional”. Queens-Politics.com. Queens-Politics.com. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- “List of 56 Democrats Not Attending Netanyahu’s Speech”. IJ Review. March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.[dead link]
- “Castro launches bid for House Foreign Affairs gavel”. July 21, 2020. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020.
- Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
- “Dems agonize over tax cuts for rich: ‘Bad policy, bad politics’“. POLITICO. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
- Matikas Santos (June 28, 2012). “‘Dindo’ will hit N. Luzon, 10 areas under Signal No. 2″. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- Choi, Joseph (August 16, 2021). “Top House Democrat: Taliban advance was ‘ultimately inevitable’“. The Hill. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
- “Rep. Gregory Meeks(D-NY) Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress”. CREW. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- Lipton, Eric; Hernandez, Raymond (March 19, 2010). “Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- Report, Post Staff (September 25, 2011). “Meeks’ moral morass”. New York Post. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- staff/ben-muessig (December 29, 2009). “Queens Rep. Tied To Ponzi Schemer — And Hugo Chavez?”. Gothamist. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- Editorials. “Come clean, Mr. Meeks: Congressman must explain relationship with shady billionaire”. nydailynews.com. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- Smith, Greg B. “FBI looks into secret $40,000 personal loan to Queens pol Gregory Meeks”. nydailynews.com. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- Hernandez, Raymond (May 1, 2008). “What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid?”. The New York Times.
- “Members”. House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
- “Members”. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- “Our Members”. U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- “Members”. U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- “Membership”. Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
- “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- “Members”. Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
- on YouTube
- Gronich, Marc “A Q&A With Rep. Gregory Meeks” Jewish Press June 19, 2020
- Congressman Gregory W. Meeks official U.S. House website
- Gregory Meeks for Congress
- Gregory Meeks at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
Chair – House Foreign Affairs Committee
- Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment
- Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade
Senior Member – House Committee on Financial Services:
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protections & Financial Institutions
- Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets