Chairman Ed Royce
U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R) became the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2013. He is serving his 12th term in Congress, representing Southern California’s 39th district. Royce and his wife Marie are longtime residents of Fullerton, CA.
As a longtime active member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Royce is known for his knowledge of many different regions of the world and analytical foresight into key U.S. foreign policy issues. Immediately prior to becoming Chairman of the Committee, Royce served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Royce was at the forefront of some of the most important issues facing our country. One of the Subcommittee’s main focuses was the catastrophic, global threat posed by terrorism, especially the al-Qaeda network. Additionally, the Subcommittee explored issues such as the ideology that inspires terrorism; terrorist financing; terrorist sanctuaries and failed states; and capacity building of foreign forces to fight terrorism.
The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction over nonproliferation issues was crucial given the severity of the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction falling into terrorist hands. The threat that terrorism poses to the security of our nation remains a grave concern and priority for Royce. His awareness of the situation dates prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In Congressional hearings in 1996, he warned of the terrorist breeding ground in Afghanistan where al-Qaeda was training.
Combining his work on both the Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Royce is a recognized leader in Congress on anti-terrorism finance issues. He is a founding member and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Anti-Terror Finance Task Force, which seeks to strengthen efforts to fight against the funding of terrorism.
Royce has been a leading voice on Iran sanctions; in 2010 he served on the Conference Committee for the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act. Royce was the original cosponsor of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syrian Human Rights Act of 2012. Following the bill’s passage, with Royce’s support, Iranian regime officials engaging in censorship activities were targeted with asset freezes and travel bans. Royce was also a Conferee to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 and strongly supported the sanctions against Iran contained in that legislation. The Foreign Affairs Committee he chairs is responsible for overseeing broadcasting to Iran. Royce will be working to see that U.S. broadcasting efforts effectively promote democracy and human rights in Iran.
From 1997 to 2004, Royce chaired the Africa Subcommittee. During his tenure, Royce held some 70 hearings examining a wide range of issues of importance to Africa and the United States. He shepherded through Congress several legislative initiatives and numerous resolutions affecting U.S.-Africa relations. Hearings in 2004 included confronting war crimes in Africa, reflecting on the Rwanda genocide, the current genocide in Darfur, and peace prospects in Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Congo.
Royce has led several Congressional delegations to numerous African countries, including one to observe the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. In 1999, Royce co-led with Colin Powell an observation delegation to Nigeria for its historic presidential elections. Royce led bipartisan efforts to spur trade between the U.S. and Africa with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA was signed into law in 2000 and subsequently amended and improved in 2002 and 2004. On a 2003 trip to Africa, Royce participated in the U.S.-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, and saw first-hand the positive impact of AGOA on African economies.
In 1999, Royce was appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve as Chairman of the U.S.-Republic of Korea Interparliamentary Exchange in which Members of Congress discuss security, trade, political and other issues with Korean National Assembly members. In 2004, Royce was an original co-sponsor of the North Korean Human Rights Act, which was signed into law to promote human rights in North Korea and protect North Korean refugees. Royce hosted the most recent Exchange in Washington, D.C. in March 2011.
Royce has worked hard to promote international broadcasting into countries where governments limit free speech or strictly control news and information. He is the author of the Radio Free Asia Act of 1997, which significantly boosted broadcasting activities to China, North Korea, and other Asian countries with repressive governments. Since 1996, Royce has been working to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. He authored the Radio Free Afghanistan Act of 2001, bringing a voice of liberty, tolerance, and democracy to a region that was once dominated by the Taliban-run hate radio.
In the spring of 2003, Royce was part of the first Congressional delegation trip to Iraq to evaluate the situation on the ground during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Chairman of the House International Relations Committee then tapped him in the fall of 2003 to lead his own delegation to observe the reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
Royce has been instrumental in strengthening relations between the U.S. and India. In the 107th session of Congress, as its Chairman, Royce built the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans into one of the largest, most active House caucuses. Royce was designated by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to be an official member of then-President Clinton’s historic delegation to India in 2000. In 2001, Royce led the effort to lift sanctions against India and Pakistan.
Royce has long been involved in calling attention to the abysmal human rights conditions in Vietnam. He has worked on several important pieces of legislation to promote religious freedom and democracy, including the Freedom of Information in Vietnam Act, the Vietnam Human Rights Sanctions Act, and the Vietnam Human Rights Act.
As an original co-founder and the current Co-Chairman of the Congressional International Conservation Caucus, Royce is active in efforts to promote global natural resource conservation. Royce led efforts in Congress to authorize the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), which was signed into law in 2004. The CBFP is a partnership of six countries aiming to preserve the precious rainforests, protect endangered species, and promote good governance and eco-tourism in eleven key African landscapes.