Chairman Chabot on the hearing: "In 1994, the Clinton Administration announced to the world the signing of the Agreed Framework that was supposed to result in a nuclear weapons-free North Korea. Twenty-years later, the goal of denuclearization in North Korea is no closer to reality. Rather, Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile weapons programs continue to make progress, threatening the stability of the entire Asia region. After 20 years of failed policies, it is time for a new approach to North Korea. The regime’s efforts to proliferate, counterfeit, and undermine are well-known and documented—as are North Korea’s systematic and horrific human rights abuses. This hearing will examine whether the Administration intends to cripple the North Korean regime by considering more targeted sanctions or whether the failed policy of “strategic patience” will continue."Read More
Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “Rule of law, predictability, and strong democratic institutions are vital in providing the confidence investors need to bring economic opportunity, growth and jobs to any given country. Latin America is rich in resources and human capital, but many countries in the region are plagued by corruption, weak institutions, and leaders who systematically erode democratic values. Argentina’s continued flouting of past debt obligations places what should be a vibrant economy at risk of another default. Market unfriendly regulations in Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia have similarly shaken investor confidence, affecting economic growth in the region. This hearing will give my Subcommittee the opportunity to examine where confidence has been shaken, how U.S. economic interests are affected, and what if anything the United States can do to encourage greater transparency and market friendly approaches throughout the Americas. The dire situation in Central America is a perfect example of how weak institutions and endemic corruption can have corroding effects on economic growth and opportunity.”Read More
Chairman Royce Opening Statement
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will convene a hearing to examine the Obama Administration’s announcement of a four-month extension in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers. At the hearing, State Department and Treasury Department officials, including the top U.S. negotiator for the Iran talks, will testify. The hearing, entitled “Iran Nuclear Negotiations: From Extension to Final Agreement?” will begin at 2:00 p.m.
Live webcast of the hearing, as well as witness testimony, will be available HERE. Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:
This afternoon we assess the past six months of nuclear diplomacy with Iran, and ask if a viable agreement is achievable by November 24th.
The Administration – along with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany—has been seeking to negotiate a “long-term comprehensive solution” to Iran’s nuclear program since last fall. With these negotiations, Iran has agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief. Should a final agreement be reached, it would permit Iran to maintain “a mutually defined enrichment program” and be treated like any other “non-nuclear weapon state party to the [Nonproliferation Treaty].”
At the outset of these negotiations, the Administration aggressively pushed back on Congressional attempts to give our negotiators more leverage with added sanctions, to go into force should negotiations fail. The legislation that Ranking Member Engel and I authored – and was passed with 400 votes – would have given Iran’s leadership a choice between compromise and economic collapse. We’ll never know if that prospect would have made a difference over the past six months. But we do know that talks haven’t accomplished much to date without this pressure. Indeed, just days before the recent deadline, the Iranian Foreign Minister was “offering” an Iranian freeze of its current 19,000 centrifuges “for several years.” Is the status quo the best Iran is offering after six months of negotiations? A status quo, by the way, that has Iran enriching more uranium.
The Committee has continued its intense focus on Iran, holding a series of hearings. Among the challenges:
Also, many don’t realize that any limits placed on Iran’s nuclear program as part of the “comprehensive solution” will expire. In this respect, the “final” agreement is just another interim step; with the real final step being the treatment of Iran as “any other” non-nuclear weapon NPT state. That means: no sanctions; no restrictions on procurement of nuclear items, and certainly no restrictions on the number of centrifuges it can spin or the level to which it may enrich uranium. With such status, Iran could enrich on as industrial scale—claiming the desire to sell enriched uranium on the international market, as does France. Iran could also enrich uranium to levels near the weapons grade —claiming the desire to power a nuclear navy. That’s what Brazil is doing.
Of course, Iran isn’t France or Brazil. That was evident when the Committee examined Iran’s behavior across the board:
Ambassador Sherman – you have your work cut out for you. I’m not sure how we reach an agreement that advances U.S. national security given Iran’s deep commitment to an extremely dangerous nuclear program. One thing is clear: come November and no deal? There will be additional sanctions.
But as the Administration charts its course, I trust that you will be in close touch with this Committee. That’s especially important given the significant changes to our Iran sanctions policy that are to be considered. As you know, Mr. Engel and I recently sent a letter to the President – signed by 340 of our colleagues – expecting such close coordination. America is stronger when we work together.
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that the Committee will meet TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. to consider:
H. Res. 281, (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) Expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their religious beliefs, and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups.
An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute is expected to be offered by Chairman Royce.
H.R. 3398, the Girls Count Act of 2014, (Mr. Chabot) To authorize the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries, and for other purposes
An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute is expected to be offered by Mr. Chabot.
H.R. 5041, (Mr. Lamborn) To require the Secretary of State to offer rewards totaling up to $5,000,000 for information on the kidnapping and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, a dual United States-Israeli citizen, that began on June 12, 2014
An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute is expected to be offered.
H.R. 5206, (Mr. Grayson) To allow Foreign Service and other executive agency employees to designate beneficiaries of their death benefits.
H.R. __, (Mr.____) To authorize further assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system
H. Res. 683, (Mr. Vargas) Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the current situation in Iraq and the urgent need to protect religious minorities from persecution from the Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) as it expands its control over areas in northwestern Iraq
When: 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 30
Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
***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.
Washington, D.C. – This morning, the House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats subcommittee and the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade subcommittee will convene a joint subcommittee hearing entitled, “The Shootdown of Malaysian Flight 17 and the Escalating Crisis in Ukraine.” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who recently traveled to Eastern Ukraine in April, will deliver the following opening statement. Live webcast and witness testimony will be available HERE.
Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing: “The destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 shocked the world. The evidence that the plane was shot down by the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine using an SA-11 missile provided by Moscow is overwhelming. Far from expressing remorse, Moscow and the separatists are pouring out propaganda and conspiracy theories in a desperate attempt to cover up their responsibility. The militias in control of the crash site still refuse to allow investigators freedom to examine the wreckage. Last week, along with the Ranking Member, I urged the Administration to press for a United Nations Resolution to authorize security for international investigators at the crash site. The violence in eastern Ukraine is increasing as Russia has stepped up its active support for the separatist militias, including supplying even more advanced weapons. However, it is still possible that something positive can be pulled from this tragedy, but only if the U.S. and our allies in Europe and elsewhere aim at achieving more than a simple ceasefire or cooperation with the investigation. Instead, our focus should be on forcing Putin to end his support for the rebels and compel them to accept President Poroshenko’s generous peace plan, which requires them to lay down their weapons in return for amnesty. The Administration already possesses the authority to impose a broad range of sanctions. HR 4278, the Ukraine Support Act, which I introduced with Ranking Member Engel and which passed the House in March, expanded the President’s authority to increase assistance for democracy and civil society programs, and the enhanced U.S. international broadcasting needed to counter Russian propaganda. The Administration has also approved $23 million in non-lethal security assistance since early March and has proposed a $40 million program to train and equip elements of the Ukrainian National Guard. The announcement yesterday that the U.S. and the EU have agreed to impose new sanctions, including on the defense, financial, and energy sectors, is an acknowledgement that the actions taken to date have been insufficient to deter Putin. Given that the Europeans can bring far greater leverage to bear on Russia than the U.S., the responsibility falls heavily on them to convince Putin that his current course cannot succeed and will only bring increasing pain to his country, especially its economy. Only under this pressure is he likely to choose peace and finally allow the Ukrainian people to achieve the security, prosperity, and freedom they have sought for so long.”
View Archive Hearing Video:Read More
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of bipartisan legislation to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, was introduced by Chairman Royce and has the support of more than 140 co-sponsors and humanitarian groups worldwide, strengthens existing sanctions against North Korea by prohibiting North Korea’s access to critical resources -- such as hard currency and other goods -- that keep the Kim regime in power. Importantly, the legislation holds North Korean officials accountable for gross human rights abuses, which were highlighted in the recent United Nations Commission of Inquiry. In strengthening sanctions against North Korea, the legislation in no way affects humanitarian aid. The Committee passed the legislation in May. Upon House passage of H.R. 1771, Chairman Royce said: “North Korea has one of the worst human rights records of any country in the entire world. At the same time, it is pursuing nuclear weapons that threaten not only United States but our close allies as well. For over 20-years, the world has turned a blind eye to the horrible crimes against humanity carried out by North Korea. Earlier this year, the UN Commission of Inquiry laid out the most damning evidence to date regarding the regime’s systematic persecution of its own people. For those of us on the front lines of North Korea human rights, this report is a call to action that must not be ignored. “The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act holds the regime accountable for its deplorable human rights record and its nuclear proliferation. This bipartisan legislation, which has strong support from humanitarian groups worldwide, targets the regime where it is most vulnerable – its access to hard currency. By shutting down North Korea’s illicit activities, we deprive the Kim regime of the money he needs to pay his generals and to conduct nuclear weapons research.”
H.R. 1771: · denies sanctioned North Koreans and their enablers’ access to the United States, blocking all property, including access to the U.S. financial system; · calls for a determination as to whether North Korean banks and government entities are primary money laundering concerns, requiring that banks meet strict monitoring and reporting rules when dealing with those banks and entities; · provides the Administration the tools necessary to sanction third-country persons and banks that facilitate North Korean proliferation, smuggling, money laundering, and human rights abuses; · authorizes the President to sanction banks and foreign governments that facilitate the financial restrictions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2094, passed in the wake of North Korea’s last nuclear test;
· blocks and seizes any assets connected with North Korea’s proliferation, illicit activities, and human rights violations;
· requires enhanced inspection requirements to ships and aircraft arriving from ports and airports that fail to meet their international obligation to inspect North Korean cargo carefully (This provision protects the U.S. homeland from ports that deliberately fail to sufficiently inspect North Korean cargo.); · holds North Korean officials accountable for human rights abuses.
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the State Department’s release of the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report: “Religious liberty remains under siege around the world. Millions of believers face extremists who terrorize those with differing beliefs, or authoritarian governments who deny the freedom to worship outside of pre-approved regime-controlled means. We need look no further than the ongoing terror campaign of ISIS against the ancient Christian community in Mosul, Iraq, whose doors have been painted red, and who have been threatened with death unless they abandon their Christian faith. “While I recognize that the Administration is finally acting today to fulfill its statutory obligation under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, I do not understand why it has failed to do so for the past three years. The President had not designated Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) since August 2011, an annual requirement under the law. And even today's designations do not capture all of those countries whose repression justifies CPC designation. “One glaring omission from the State Department’s list is Vietnam, where those who practice religious freedom are severely persecuted. Having travelled to Vietnam to meet with the Venerable Thich Quang Do, I have seen the extent to which the Communist Government of Vietnam will go to punish peaceful religious dissidents.” Note: Chairman Royce has introduced H.Res.218, calling on the Secretary of State to list Vietnam as a “country of particular concern" with respect to religious freedom.
Washington, DC 20515