Committee on Foreign Affairs

Ed Royce

Chairman Royce Statement on the Situation in Hong Kong

2014/10/01

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement about the situation in Hong Kong:

“For nearly two decades, Hong Kong has thrived as a free society under ‘one country, two systems.’  This freedom is now eroding as Beijing appears to undermine its promise to allow genuine democratic elections in Hong Kong.  A managed choice is no choice at all.

“Now is the time for genuine dialogue and to maintain the promises of the Basic Law between the government of Hong Kong, the people of Hong Kong, and the People’s Republic of China.  I lead a delegation to Hong Kong this year.  I call on all sides to exercise restraint, maintain the promise of the Basic Law and solve this through dialogue.”  

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Hearing at 10 a.m. Today to Examine Case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, U.S. Marine Held in Mexico

2014/10/01

Chairman Ed Royce Opening Statement

Washington, D.C. – This morning at a 10 a.m. hearing, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will continue to press for the release of U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in a Mexican prison since March.  The hearing is entitled “Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi: Our Marine in Mexican Custody.”   Live webcast and witness testimony is available HERE.   Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:  Thank you Chairman Salmon for your leadership shown by convening this important hearing to discuss the ongoing case of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.   This Committee has worked hard at exercising oversight of the role the State Department plays in aiding Americans abroad, has been aggressive in defense of this American in trouble abroad, while being respectful of our important relationship with Mexico.  But Andrew has been in jail since March.  The bottom line is that this Marine needs to be home, now.     This case is important.  As Members of Congress, we must see to it that U.S. servicemen and women who are put in harm’s way to defend our country are properly cared for when they return home injured, as is Andrew’s case.  Mrs. Tahmooressi, I am pleased that you are here with us today to share your thoughts on your son’s detention.  This hasn’t been easy for you, we know.  I traveled to Tecate, Mexico in June to visit your son, spent almost an hour with him, and came away from that visit even more committed to helping Andrew get back home to receive the PTSD treatment he needs and deserves.  This is the least we can do for his service.   Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is a brave Marine who served two combat tours in Afghanistan.  During his time deployed to Helmand province with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Andrew received a combat meritorious promotion – a battlefield promotion under meritorious conditions.  This rarely happens, and is a testament to Andrew’s valor and love of country. To discuss his service, it is an honor to have Marine Sgt. Robert Buchanan here to testify.  I met Robert at my office in Orange County, California where I learned that he served with Andrew in Afghanistan.  He is now a veterans advocate, having earned the Purple Heart after sustaining injuries himself from an IED explosion.  Robert, thank you for travelling to Washington.  We are all looking forward to hearing your testimony about your friend, Sgt. Tahmooressi, with whom you served on the front lines.   As many know, Andrew suffered physical injuries as a result of an IED explosion during his deployment in Afghanistan, as well as psychological injuries in the form of combat PTSD.  The San Diego Veterans Affairs hospital diagnosed Andrew with combat PTSD less than ten days prior to his arrest at the Mexican border.  Andrew’s PTSD has resulted in hyper-vigilance, memory and cognition lapses, and depression.  When I learned that Andrew had attempted to harm himself while held at the over-crowded and dangerous La Mesa Penitentiary in Tijuana, it was clear to me that he would not be able to receive the specialized treatment he needs as long as he’s held in Mexico.   It is because of this that I, together with Congressman Salmon, visited Andrew, and have pressed for his release, most recently asking the Attorney General of Mexico to consider the extenuating circumstances of Andrew’s combat related PTSD, a condition requiring specific expertise not available in Mexico.  Last week I had a good and productive conversation with the Mexican Attorney General and am confident that a humanitarian release of Andrew will occur very soon so he can start getting better.  

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Subcommittee Hearing: Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi: Our Marine in Mexican Custody

2014/10/01

View Hearing Archive Hearing Video:

Opening Statements:

Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman Committee on Foreign Affairs[full text of opening statement]

Rep. Matt Salmon, Chairman Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere[full text of opening statement]

Chairman Salmon's Opening Statement:

Chairman Royce's Opening Statement:

Witnesses:

Chairman Salmon Questions Witnesses:

Chairman Royce Questions Witnesses:

Mrs. Jill Tahmooressi (Mother of Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi)[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]

Lieutenant Commander Montel B. Williams, USN, Retired (Veterans Advocate)[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]

Sergeant Robert Buchanan, USMC, Retired (Served with Sergeant Tahmooressi in Afghanistan)[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]

Mr. Pete Hegseth Chief Executive Officer Concerned Veterans for America[full text of statement][truth in testimony form]

 

***Any changes to witness list will be reflected above.

 

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Chairman Royce Statement on Prime Minister Modi Meeting

2014/09/30

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the bipartisan meeting with His Excellency Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, which was hosted by House Speaker John Boehner.

Chairman Royce: “It was an honor to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the Capitol.  We discussed important issues, including improving counterterrorism cooperation and steps that can be taken to reduce violence against Indian women.  The Prime Minister heard congressional concerns about fully implementing the civilian nuclear energy agreement so that the US can be a full partner in India’s nuclear energy industry.”   

The Prime Minister addressed the top House leadership about the U.S.-India relationship.  Demonstrating the importance placed on the U.S.-India relationship, the top leadership of the House returned to Washington for the meeting, despite Congress not being in session.  The Prime Minister described economic reforms his government has undertaken, including in the defense, transportation and financial services fields.  Questions posed by Members addressed India’s energy dealings with Iran, Iran’s nuclear program, counterterrorism cooperation, implementation of the civilian nuclear cooperation deal, and violence against women, among other issues.

Note:  Chairman Royce attended a U.S. Government only meeting with Prime Minister Modi at Madison Square Garden where he discussed U.S.-India economic and security ties.  Chairman Royce, a three time co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, 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.

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Chairman Royce Statement on First Ebola Case Diagnosed in U.S.

2014/09/30

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement following the Centers for Disease Control confirmation of the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States:

“Communicable diseases do not stop at borders.  While the likelihood of a major outbreak in the United States is still very unlikely, with this case, it is more clear than ever that the rapid spread of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone presents a clear and present danger not only to West Africa, but to the broader international community.   “This is why I have been seeking to advance an urgent, effective, international response to the Ebola crisis.  The United States must work with the African governments at ground zero, other donors, the private sector, and competent nongovernmental and international organizations to detect cases, get infected persons into isolation, and trace contacts.  With every day that goes by without effective detection and isolation, the number of cases will expand exponentially. We cannot stand by as this deadly disease spreads.”

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A Look Ahead

2014/09/26

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:

Wednesday, October 1

Subcommittee Hearing: Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi:  Our Marine in Mexican Custody

10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 1 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:            Mrs. Jill Tahmooressi (Mother of Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi)           Lieutenant Commander Montel B. Williams, USN, Retired   (Veterans Advocate)

Sergeant Robert Buchanan, USMC, Retired (Served with Sergeant Tahmooressi in Afghanistan)

Mr. Pete Hegseth Chief Executive Officer Concerned Veterans for America

Chairman Royce on the hearing: “We should never forget the sacrifices men and women in uniform have made.  U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi’s combat-related PTSD is a life-threatening condition he acquired in defense of his country while serving on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and he needs to return to the United States for specific and urgent treatment.  I have maintained my respect for Mexico’s laws and sovereignty throughout, but since visiting Sgt. Tahmooressi at his prison in Mexico, I have become more committed than ever to ensuring his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.  Sgt. Tahmooressi is an American hero, whose wrong turn at the Mexican border has had the devastating effect of delaying his much-needed PTSD treatment for too long.”

Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “As Congress begins to contemplate once again committing our nation's servicemen and women to the fight against terrorism, it is incumbent on us to stand by our heroes when they return home.  As a direct result of his honorable service in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi now suffers from combat related PTSD.  Tragically, instead of receiving the treatment he needs, he is being held in a Mexican prison.  As a Member of Congress it is my obligation and duty to protect heroes like Andrew who have suffered the ravages of war in service to our nation. I'm convening this hearing to honor his service and work to ensure his immediate release so that he can receive the treatment he needs.”

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.  ***Coverage note: All Foreign Affairs Committee proceedings are webcast live at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/live-video-feed.

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Chairman Royce Statement on Military Action Against ISIL in Syria

2014/09/23

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on military action against ISIL targets in Syria: 

“These airstrikes on ISIL’s command and training centers are long overdue.  With them, the space for these terrorists to operate will shrink. An effective campaign to destroy ISIL can’t be limited to one side of the border between Iraq and Syria. While this initial attack will be a big psychological blow to the terrorist group, an air campaign will need to be major and sustained. The reported participation of Arab allies in the region is welcome.  This is their fight as much as ours.”

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Chairman Royce Welcomes Afghanistan’s Unity Government

2014/09/21

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on Afghanistan’s election results:

"Afghanistan will now transition from one elected leader to another.  The Afghan people can be proud of the role they played.  The election, especially the tabulation, has been rough, but there is cause for hope, if things change.  After nearly 13 years under the failed policies of the Karzai administration, Afghanistan desperately needs a fresh start with a new leader and innovative ideas.

"It is now time for all parties to set aside their differences, abide by their commitments to form a national-unity government, and embrace a set of common goals to achieve a stable Afghanistan.  Afghanistan otherwise will be a failed state, with disastrous consequences for Afghans, and greater dangers to U.S. national security.

"President-elect Ghani must confront many challenges, including rampant corruption, revenue shortfalls, and a very challenging security situation.  I look forward to working with him and Abdullah Abdullah to ensure that Afghanistan remains a key security partner of the United States."

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Royce, McCaul, Duncan Request Review of State Department’s Plans to Construct New Security Training Center

2014/09/19

Proposal from DHS May Improve Diplomatic Security in a More Effective, Efficient, and Timely Manner

Washington, D.C. – This week, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, called on Secretary of State John Kerry to put on hold the Department’s current plans to construct a costly new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FAST-C) while their requested Government Accountability Office (GAO) review is completed.

In order to ensure critically important improvements to embassy and diplomatic security are completed in the most effective, efficient, and timely manner, Royce, McCaul, and Duncan have requested a GAO review of the State Department’s pending proposal to construct the new FAST-C in Blackstone, Virginia and the Homeland Security Department’s proposal to expand its own Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia to meet the State Department’s needs.  The Homeland Security Department estimates that its proposal would save U.S. taxpayers nearly $1 billion over ten years.

While there is an urgent need to increase and improve diplomatic security training following the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, and the rising anti-American militancy in North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and elsewhere, the State Department’s proposed brand new FASTC would not be completed for at least 5 years at a cost of $450-$900 million.  The GAO review will determine whether DHS’s FLETC is an already operating suitable alternative.      

In their letter to Secretary Kerry, Royce, McCaul, and Duncan wrote:  “By leveraging existing facilities to meet State’s training needs, FLETC estimates its proposal could save the U.S. government almost $1 billion over 10 years.  With such a substantial amount of projected cost savings, we believe it is critical that FLETC’s estimate receive thorough consideration and a full, independent analysis…. It is critical that an independent and unbiased analysis be conducted to determine which agency’s proposal offers the required training at the best value to the American taxpayer.”

The signed letter to Kerry is HERE.  The signed letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro is HERE.

The text of the two letters follows:

The Honorable John F. Kerry Secretary of State U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to express our concerns regarding the Department’s plan to move forward with construction of the new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (“FAST-C”) at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia.  Our Committees have asked the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) to review the proposals put forward by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the Department of State (“State”) to determine which proposal meets the State’s security training requirements in the most effective, efficient, and timely manner.  Our Committees request that State not move forward and expend any funding for development at the Fort Pickett site until the GAO review is complete.

Embassy security and the safety of U.S. personnel abroad are areas of great concern to us.  Over the past two years, our Committees have conducted oversight through full Committee hearings and staff briefings, and we assess that the State Department’s existing Diplomatic Security (“DS”) training facilities may be insufficient to meet recommendations put forward by the Accountability Review Board (ARB) that was convened following the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi.  Specifically, we are concerned about the implementation of the ARB’s recommendations that State develop courses for DS agents and other State personnel integrating high-threat training and risk-management decision processes and provide Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training for all personnel assigned to high-risk, high-threat posts.

We understand that State, in an effort to comply with these ARB recommendations, has proposed that the General Services Administration (GSA) construct a new FASTC at Fort Pickett, an Army National Guard facility in Blackstone, VA. This proposal aims to consolidate State’s eleven security training facilities, improve instructional efficiency, and provide training to an estimated 9,000-10,000 DS and other State personnel.  The initial cost for this project was over $950 million, but a reduction in scope lowered that estimate to approximately $907 million and then to $460 million, including a commensurate reduction in projected capabilities. We understand from State that the cost could change further.

We are mindful, however, that DHS already operates FLETC, which provides security training for DHS and 91 law enforcement and military partner agencies and organizations including DS. FLETC currently possesses extensive existing infrastructure that could be expanded and upgraded – including construction of new buildings, weapon ranges, and driving tracks – to meet the requirements in State’s original plan at a cost of $272 million.  By leveraging existing facilities to meet State’s training needs, FLETC estimates its proposal could save the U.S. government almost $1 billion over 10 years.  With such a substantial amount of projected cost savings, we believe it is critical that FLETC’s estimate receive thorough consideration and a full, independent analysis.

We are further concerned by the widely differing cost estimates provided by State and DHS to satisfy State’s security training needs.  Our Committees have received varying information about which requirements are critical to improving the safety of personnel and facilities overseas and how each proposal would satisfy those requirements.  It is critical that an independent and unbiased analysis be conducted to determine which agency’s proposal offers the required training at the best value to the American taxpayer.

Last year, in the annual State Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 2848) the House conveyed its bipartisan desire to see an independent analysis precede any expenditure of funding.  It is our understanding that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has reviewed both State and DHS proposals and our Committees have repeatedly requested access to any documentation related to the OMB review.  Unfortunately, the Administration has not responded to those requests. Instead, the General Services Administration (GSA) recently posted a notice for a supplemental environmental impact statement to be conducted on State’s Fort Pickett site. This indicates State’s intent to expend existing funds to move forward with FASTC without additional analysis of alternative sites, including FLETC, which the GAO study would provide.

We look forward to seeing the results of the GAO review and trust that the Department will not embark on such an expensive undertaking without allowing for the completion of a thorough, transparent, and unbiased review process.

The Honorable Gene Dodaro Comptroller General U.S. Government Accountability Office 441 G Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20548

Dear Mr. Dodaro:

We understand that the Department of State (“State”) is moving forward with plans to construct a new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (“FAST-C”) in Blackstone, Virginia.  The selection of the Fort Pickett site comes after more than a decade of failed proposals to develop property at other sites in the Washington-Metro area and the inability to expand current use at the Bill Scott Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia.  The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has submitted a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) to retrofit an existing law enforcement training center in Glynco, GA (the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or “FLETC”) to service the Department of State’s needs.  The FAST-C and FLETC proposals vary considerably in cost, scope, and projected completion time, which we believe warrant an impartial review before the Administration moves forward with either.   

It is our understanding that State has proposed that the General Services Administration (GSA) construct a new FAST-C at Fort Pickett, an Army National Guard facility in Blackstone, VA. This proposal aims to consolidate State’s eleven security training facilities, improve instructional efficiency, and provide training to an estimated 9,000-10,000 Diplomatic Security (“DS”) and other State personnel.  The initial cost for this project was over $950 million, but a reduction in scope lowered that estimate to approximately $907 million and then to $460 million. We understand from State that the cost could change further.

DHS already operates FLETC in Glynco, GA, which provides security training for DHS and 91 law enforcement and military partner agencies and organizations.  DHS has proposed to expand and upgrade the current FLETC facility – including construction of new buildings, weapon ranges, and driving tracks – to meet the requirements in State’s original plan at a cost of $272 million.  By leveraging its existing facilities to meet State’s training needs, FLETC estimates its proposal could save the U.S. government almost $1 billion over 10 years.  With such a substantial amount of projected cost savings, we believe it is critical that FLETC’s estimate receive thorough consideration and a full, independent analysis.

We thereby request that the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) review both the Department of State’s FAST-C proposal and the DHS proposal to expand the existing FLETC site to meet State’s requirements.  A review should consider the strengths, weaknesses, and risks of each agency’s existing capabilities, proposed new infrastructure, and any other relevant tangible factors.

In order to ensure the highest quality security training is provided at the best price to the American taxpayer, we request that GAO address the following questions during its review: 1.      Does the State Department have a strategic capital planning process and, if so, how does it conform to leading practices and how do its plans for a new DS training center fit into it?

2.      What requirements has the State Department established for a new DS training center, and how do the different proposals, such as the status quo, FAST-C, FLETC, and others fulfill those requirements?

3.      To what extent do the cost estimates for the project conform to leading practices?

4.      What are the potential consequences of any changes in scope being considered for the project on the effectiveness of State Department training and for meeting project requirements?  

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A Look Ahead — Through October 1

2014/09/19

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:

Wednesday, October 1

Subcommittee Hearing: Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi:  Our Marine in Mexican Custody

10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 1 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman

Invited Witnesses Include:

Mrs. Jill Tahmooressi (Mother of Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi)

Lieutenant Commander Montel B. Williams, USN, Retired   (Veterans Advocate)

Chairman Royce on the hearing: “We should never forget the sacrifices men and women in uniform have made.  U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi’s combat-related PTSD is a life-threatening condition he acquired in defense of his country while serving on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and he needs to return to the United States for specific and urgent treatment.    I have maintained my respect for Mexico’s laws and sovereignty throughout, but since visiting Sgt. Tahmooressi at his prison in Mexico, I have become more committed than ever to ensuring his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.  Sgt. Tahmooressi is an American hero, whose wrong turn at the Mexican border has had the devastating effect of delaying his much-needed PTSD treatment for too long.”

Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “As Congress begins to contemplate once again committing our nation's servicemen and women to the fight against terrorism, it is incumbent on us to stand by our heroes when they return home.  As a direct result of his honorable service in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi now suffers from combat related PTSD.  Tragically, instead of receiving the treatment he needs, he is being held in a Mexican prison.  As a Member of Congress it is my obligation and duty to protect heroes like Andrew who have suffered the ravages of war in service to our nation. I'm convening this hearing to honor his service and work to ensure his immediate release so that he can receive the treatment he needs.”

***See www.foreignaffairs.house.gov for updates.

***Coverage note: All Foreign Affairs Committee proceedings are webcast live at www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/live-video-feed.

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Contact Information


Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-8467
Fax 202-226-7269
foreignaffairs.house.gov


Membership

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Steve Chabot

OHIO's 1st DISTRICT

Doug Collins

GEORGIA's 9th DISTRICT

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Tom Cotton

ARKANSAS' 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

Jeff Duncan

SOUTH CAROLINA's 3rd DISTRICT

George Holding

NORTH CAROLINA's 13th DISTRICT

Adam Kinzinger

ILLINOIS' 16th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Mark Meadows

NORTH CAROLINA's 11th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

FLORIDA's 27th DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Matt Salmon

ARIZONA's 5th DISTRICT

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

Steve Stockman

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Joe Wilson

SOUTH CAROLINA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT