Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelRep. David Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Democrats elect Meeks as first Black Foreign Affairs chairman The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates MORE (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzHouse Democrats pick DeLauro to lead Appropriations panel DeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair On The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike MORE (D-Fla.), who are outspoken critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his anti-Semitic rhetoric, dismissed criticisms that President Obama acted too friendly with Chavez last weekend.

In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Engel -- who was on a CODEL at the Summit of the Americas where Obama and Chavez amicably shook hands -- said, "Chavez ran over to Obama and shook his hand. And I think there was no other thing that he could do but shake the hand. That is what you do if someone puts out their hand."

Likewise, Wasserman Schultz said, "A handshake does not transform Chavez into a great guy. It just was a handshake."

Engel and Wasserman Schultz have been longtime opponents of Chavez.

As recently as two months ago, Wasserman Schultz criticized Chavez on the House floor for failing to respond forcefully to an attack on a Jewish synagogue in Caracas.

Some Republicans have lambasted Obama for his interaction with Chavez. The president last weekend dismissed criticisms about the exchange.

--Michael Gleeson