Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on President Obama’s announcement that he will travel to India in January:
“Today’s announcement that President Obama has accepted an invitation to attend Indian Republic Day as the Chief Guest is a very welcome development. The importance of U.S.-India relations cannot be overstated. Frankly, this has been a relationship that unfortunately has struggled to find its footing in the last several years. The President’s visit could be another important step in getting this relationship back on track, following Prime Minister Modi’s very successful trip to the U.S., which I had the honor of being a part of, including welcoming the Prime Minister to Congress.
“During his trip, President Obama will have the opportunity to help push U.S.-India trade relations, which are far below their potential. Some progress has been made recently, but the President needs to push for full implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which would increase market access and lower transaction costs for U.S. and foreign companies in India. The U.S. should be encouraging Indian investment in the U.S. Progress also needs to be made on implementing the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. Given India’s significant energy needs, we need to overcome the impasse that has stalled this agreement. Too much has been invested in this critical energy area to let it languish.
“Given the significant threat India and the U.S. face from radicalism, the President’s visit should have a strong counterterrorism component, as well. President Obama should push for more high-level visits by each country’s various intelligence and security agencies. Our cooperation is strong, but there remains a need for greater engagement.”
Note: Chairman Royce, a three time co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, met multiple times with Prime Minister Modi when he visited the United States in September. Royce attended a U.S. Government-only meeting with Modi at Madison Square Garden, where he discussed U.S.-India economic and security ties. Chairman Royce was instrumental in the passage of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement of 2006, managing the bill on the House Floor. He has also been a strong proponent for enhancing U.S.-India security ties, and has long spoken out against the threat of radical extremism originating from Pakistani Deobandi schools. Prior to that, Royce helped lead the effort to remove sanctions against India in 2001, and also joined then-President Clinton’s 2000 trip.
Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) issued the following statement as negotiators attempt to reach a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by November 24th. This week’s talks in Vienna will attempt to finalize the agreement that was outlined by the interim “joint plan of action” signed a year ago.
“As negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program move toward a possible conclusion, we continue to urge U.S. negotiators to take into account testimony given at a dozen hearings before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this Congress. Among the challenges negotiators face: contending with the thousands of centrifuges (the key bomb-making technology) that Iran is seeking to maintain intact; establishing an effective verification regime; and understanding and addressing the ‘possible military dimensions’ of Iran’s nuclear program. We are greatly concerned by reports that Iran is seeking to keep – and not dismantle – much of its nuclear infrastructure. Conceding enrichment to Iran is a fundamental and risky departure from decades of U.S. non-proliferation policy. Concerning also is Iran’s continued stonewalling of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the key verification agency, about its past bomb work. How can we have any confidence that Iran will be transparent in the future if it won’t be transparent about its past?
“We believe that any final agreement between the P5+1 and Iran must foreclose any pathway for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability. It must include an effective, intrusive, and long-term verification mechanism that would give us ample warning of any attempt by Iran to break out. It must also require Iran to come clean on its past work to develop a bomb.
“There is also the concerning fact that any limits placed on Iran’s nuclear program as part of the ‘comprehensive solution’ now being negotiated will expire. In this respect, the ‘final’ agreement is just another interim step, with the real final step being one in which Iran is treated as ‘any other’ non-nuclear weapon state under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, opening it to pursue industrial scale enrichment. Of course, Iran – with a deep history of deception, covert procurement, and construction of clandestine facilities - is not ‘any other’ country, to be conceded a sophisticated nuclear program. This end state is all the more disconcerting, as the regime in Tehran continues to sow destruction in the region and brutalize Iranians seeking democracy and human rights. Any meaningful agreement must last far into the future.
“Oversight of these issues has been a top Committee priority. Few other issues are of such grave importance to our nation’s security. We will continue working to evaluate the outcome of these negotiations to determine if they are in the long-term national security interests of the United States and our allies -- and act accordingly.”
Note: Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel are co-authors of H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which passed the House 400-20 in July 31, 2013.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), unanimously passed eight foreign affairs measures, including a resolution condemning Russia’s aggression against its neighbors and legislation to improve the Rewards for Justice program, and to combat Ebola in West Africa.
The Committee passed H. Res. 758 (introduced by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)), as amended, strongly condemning Russia’s continuing political, military, and economic aggression against Ukraine, as well as Georgia and Moldova.
Upon passage, Chairman Royce said: “This Committee has again condemned the various aggressions of Vladimir Putin against his neighbors, including Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. Unfortunately, the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the Obama Administration and others have not yet convinced Putin to reverse course and end his aggression against Ukraine. We need more pressure.”
Also, the Committee passed H.R. 5685, the Rewards for Justice Congressional Notification Act (introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)), requiring the State Department to notify Congress within 15 days after a reward is authorized under the Rewards for Justice Program.
Upon passage, Chairman Royce said: “This important legislation will ensure that Congress is kept fully informed of developments in the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, which offers rewards for information leading to the apprehension of terror suspects. I had successful legislation last Congress to expand this program, and the legislation the Committee passed today adds critical oversight to this important program.”
Also, the Committee passed H.R. 5710, the Ebola Emergency Response Act (introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)), as amended, authorizing emergency assistance for countries affected by or at risk of being affected by Ebola.
Upon passage, Chairman Royce said: “Though there are signs of progress in Liberia, the Ebola epidemic continues to spread throughout West Africa, leaving a trail of human and economic destruction in its wake. It is clearly in the interests of the United States to support a coordinated international effort, to contain the outbreak at its source. This legislation provides a framework for that response as we work to combat and contain Ebola in West Africa.”
Additionally, the Committee passed:
H.R. 5241, the Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act (introduced by Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA)) to prohibit United States Government recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea;
H.R. 2901, Water for the World Act (introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)), as amended, to strengthen implementation of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 by improving the capacity of the United States Government to implement, leverage, and monitor and evaluate programs to provide first-time or improved access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene to the world's poorest on an equitable and sustainable basis;
H.R. 5656, the Global Food Security Act (introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)), as amended, to authorize the Feed the Future Initiative to reduce global poverty and hunger in developing countries on a sustainable basis;
H.Res. 714 (introduced by Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (D-AS)), as amended, reaffirming the need for peaceful and collaborative resolution of maritime and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea as provided for by universally recognized principles of international law, and reaffirming the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region;
H.R. 5206 (introduced by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)), as amended, to allow Foreign Service and other executive agency employees to designate beneficiaries of their death benefits.
A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE.
“Our Critical Partner in the Fight Against ISIL is Outgunned”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced H.R. 5747, legislation to provide arms directly to the Kurdistan Regional Government. The legislation provides temporary authority for President Obama to provide weapons directly to Kurdish “Peshmerga” forces fighting ISIL on the ground.
The Obama Administration has not provided Iraqi Kurds with the heavy weapons and armored vehicles that they need to effectively fight ISIL. The U.S. has provided limited “resupply” of light weapons to Iraqi Kurds, but only after Baghdad signs off on every shipment, which has delayed critical supplies as ISIL advances.
Chairman Royce said: “Our critical partner in the fight against ISIL is badly outgunned. Despite being armed mainly with antiquated weapons, the Iraqi Kurdish ‘Peshmerga’ forces have proven to be the most effective ground force currently fighting ISIL. For months, I have urged the Administration to urgently arm the Kurds. So too have many others in Congress. This important legislation will finally allow the 190,000-strong force to get the firepower it needs to effectively fight this brutal terrorist organization.”
· makes it the policy of the United States to provide direct assistance to the Kurdistan Regional Government to combat ISIL;
· identifies Iraqi Kurds as a reliable and stable partner of the United States;
· recognizes that the Peshmerga are the official security force of the Kurdistan Regional Government, organized in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution;
· finds that defeating ISIL is critical to maintaining an inclusive, unified Iraq;
· emphasizes that ISIL is a significant terrorist threat which may employ more than 4,000 captured heavy weapons, 1,500 armored vehicles, and 50 long-range artillery pieces;
· maintains existing Congressional oversight of significant arms transfers;
· sunsets after three years, in recognition of the emergency nature of this authority.
Note: On September 18, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the provision of direct military assistance to the Kurds, noting: “We have to send it to the government [in Baghdad] because that’s the U.S. law. If you want to change it, fix it, we invite you…”
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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded the House of Representatives passage of H.R. 3398, the Girls Count Act and H.R. 3583, the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act. Both bills passed the Committee earlier this year with bipartisan support.
The Girls Count Act (H.R. 3398), authored by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), authorizes the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to work with countries on improving their civil registries, to accurately record female births. The bill also promotes the development of laws and policies to prevent discrimination against girls and improve property and inheritance rights for women. Lastly, the legislation requires the State Department and USAID to provide more relevant breakdowns of foreign assistance whenever possible, so that we can be sure women and girls are benefiting from U.S. efforts.
On the passage of H.R. 3398, Chairman Royce said: “Nearly one-third of all children around the world have never had their births registered by their countries' civil registries. For girls in particular, this lack of documentation can undercut laws protecting them from trafficking or becoming child brides. In the wake of the horrors we’ve seen perpetrated by terrorist groups like ISIL and Boko Haram – kidnapping and enslaving school-aged girls, robbing them of their freedoms – I know so many of us are deeply concerned by the plight of women and girls around the world. This legislation aims to empower those who have been cast into the shadows of their society. Birth registration is one of the first steps in the fight to preserve an individual’s basic rights under the law. Let’s help girls count.”
The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act (H.R. 3583), authored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), expands the number of scholarships available to Pakistani women under USAID’s Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program by requiring that at least half of the scholarships that are made available go to women.
On the passage of H.R. 3583, Chairman Royce said: “For years, I’ve expressed concern about the appalling state of education in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the subsequent rise of madrasas that prey upon the disenfranchised and breed radicalism. The situation for women in areas where access to education is actively suppressed is particularly grim. It’s fitting that today’s legislation was named for Malala Yousafzai, who at the age of fifteen dared to defy the Taliban, survived a brutal assassination attempt, and ultimately inspired a generation of women and girls to demand their fundamental right to be educated. At the heart of this bill is a push to help educate women and girls; a step that pays long-term dividends that helps stabilize societies, promotes economic growth, and advances U.S. national security objectives.”
Note: The Committee has worked to highlight the important role that women and girls play in U.S. foreign policy. Earlier this year, the Committee held a hearing entitled “Women’s Education: Promoting Development, Countering Radicalism,” which examined how the education of women in countries prone to violent extremism can create economic opportunities and help counter the spread of radicalism.
Royce/Engel measure sends strong message days before Iran nuclear deal deadline
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 754, which condemns the government of Iran for its gross human rights abuses. The bipartisan legislation was introduced last week by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member. Passage of today’s legislation comes days before the Obama Administration’s agreed-to deadline of November 24 to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Report of 2014 found that Iran “continues to engage in systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions.” The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur has documented an alarming increase in the number of executions, including juveniles, since President Rouhani took office in August 2013. On the legislation’s passage, Chairman Royce said: “As this Administration works toward a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program, Congress should have no illusions about the brutal nature of the Iranian regime it is engaging. It is a regime that systematically violates the fundamental human rights of its society; brutally suppresses the voices of human rights activists, journalists, and religious minorities; kills political opponents; and condones the vigilante acid attacks currently terrorizing Iranian women, many who have been doused with corrosive acid are disfigured and blinded simply because this mode of head dress does not comply with Sharia law in the view of the Basij. This is a perversion of Persian culture. Under the reign of Cyrus the Great, the world’s first human rights document was issued with its tolerance for all cultures and religions. “While Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions with relentless determination, it continues to repress millions of Iranians yearning for basic freedoms. Today’s resolution stands for the principle that U.S. foreign policy can and must pursue strategic objectives, like the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program, while promoting democracy and human rights.” Note: Chairman Royce is the author of the bipartisan H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which broadens economic sanctions, strengthens human rights sanctions, and increases oversight of the implementation and enforcement of existing sanctions. For more information about Chairman Royce’s efforts to stop a nuclear Iran, click HERE.
Václav Havel bust to be on display in Freedom Foyer
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joined other Congressional leaders to dedicate a bust of Václav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic and lifelong democracy activist, in a bipartisan ceremony in the U.S. Capitol.
Chairman Royce is the author of H. Res. 506, legislation that provides authorization for the display of the bust in the U.S. Capitol’s Freedom Foyer and honors the life and legacy of Václav Havel. The legislation unanimously passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.
(Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks prior to unveiling of Václav Havel bust)
(Bust of Václav Havel on display in U.S. Capitol)
Below are Chairman Royce’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
It is an honor indeed to pay tribute to one of the most influential political leaders in recent history.
Vaclav Havel committed his life to promoting individual liberty and human rights.
He used his talent and wit to pen insightful critiques of the communist system that undermined the dictatorship’s legitimacy.
The political truths that Havel’s’ speeches and written works revealed inspired his generation to oppose the corrupt communist system and led to its peaceful collapse twenty-five years ago.
Following the Velvet Revolution, in 1989 he continued to lead his people as the first democratically elected President of the Czech Republic in over forty years.
During his term, he also oversaw the peaceful separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics, and guided his country’s entrance into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
He knew that Eastern Europe’s march towards democracy was not complete with the fall of the Soviet Union and he invited Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty to establish its new home in Prague. As a man of letters, he especially understood the power and importance of the free flow of information. I am sure that today Havel would be deeply concerned by the Russian propaganda machine that threatens freedom and his region.
Even in his later years, Havel remained a passionate advocate for freedom, especially for those living under the authoritarian regimes of Iran, Cuba, Belarus and Burma.
His clarity of thought and commitment to democratic values are as relevant today as they were 25 years ago, as new generations find their democratic ideals being threatened by extremist rhetoric and violence, or covert actions or outright military aggression by neighboring states.
It is my hope that the placement of Havel’s image next to Winston Churchill in the Capitol will serve as such an inspiration for future generations to support peaceful activism and advance freedom and democracy.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed, H.R. 5681, important legislation extending the 1958 U.S.-U.K. Mutual Defense Agreement to allow continued bilateral nuclear security cooperation. The 1958 “Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K.) for Cooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defense Purposes” has governed U.S. nuclear security cooperation with the U.K. for more than 50 years. The agreement is renewed every 10 years, and the current cycle will expire on December 31, 2014. H.R. 5681, introduced last week by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), extends the Agreement for 10 years. Upon House passage of the legislation, Chairman Royce said: “This legislation ensures that a vital aspect of our cooperation with the United Kingdom continues uninterrupted. The United States has no closer ally. Our nations are founded on a shared belief in freedom and universal human rights. The 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement, a key element to our unmatched ‘special relationship,’ enables the exchange of nuclear materials, technology, and information and has been renewed many times since its signing in 1958. Passing this legislation and renewing the Agreement, uninterrupted, for another decade demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the United Kingdom, a close partner and enduring ally.” Ranking Member Engel said: “The Mutual Defense Agreement between the United States and the U.K. has underpinned our cooperation on nuclear security issues for more than half a century. But without Congressional action, this agreement will lapse at the end of the year. By passing this legislation, we’re ensuring continued collaboration with our British allies on this critical issue, we’re enhancing the security of both our countries, and we’re shoring up the ‘Special Relationship’ for years to come.” H.R. 5681: · enables the exchange of nuclear information, hardware, and material between the United States and United Kingdom governments; · updates existing policies regarding the training of nuclear personnel and personnel security; · improves cooperation on nuclear threat reduction efforts; · provides for the joint evaluation of potential enemy nuclear threats and capabilities; · allows for the cooperative development of mutual nuclear defense plans; · promotes bilateral research, development, and design of nuclear technologies; · adopts routine changes to legacy language in the original agreement.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Republican Conference selected U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Royce has served on the Committee since entering the House of Representatives in 1993, serving as Chairman since 2013. Chairman Royce said: “I am honored that my colleagues have selected me to continue serving as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 114th Congress. Over the last two years, our nation has faced continuous, serious threats from across the globe, including ISIL, Russia and North Korea. Unfortunately, many of these threats have been met with a confused and often passive Obama Administration foreign policy. From combating the long-term threat posed by ISIL and other terrorists, to countering the influence of false news and destructive ideas, to conducting rigorous oversight of this Administration, the Committee has been working diligently to make our nation more secure and prosperous. But much work remains. The Committee will continue its efforts to stop Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, which threatens to undermine fundamentally the security of us and our critical allies. The Committee will also continue to promote U.S. economic engagement worldwide, particularly in Asia, where economies are continually growing. I look forward to working with all members of the Committee to meet the many challenges and seize the many opportunities in front of our great nation.”
Washington, DC 20515