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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, following the Committee’s Organizational Meeting, announced a number of his priorities for the 114th Congress.   During the Organizational Meeting, the Committee adopted the Committee Rules and a Committee Oversight Plan for the 114th Congress.   Both documents are available HERE.

The 114th Congress priorities Chairman Royce announced include:

Passing a State Department Authorization bill, in order to provide for improved embassy/diplomatic security and to strengthen the Committee’s ability to conduct oversight and ensure that taxpayer funds are used wisely;

Pressuring Iran in order to stop Tehran’s march toward nuclear weapons;

  • Note:  In the 113th Congress, both the Committee (unanimously) and the House (400-20) passed H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, introduced by Royce and Engel.  The legislation would increase pressure on the Iranian regime amid its continued attempt to acquire a nuclear weapons capability.  New legislation is being prepared.

Passing North Korea sanctions legislation (following the FBI determination that North Korea was responsible for the recent cyberattack against Sony Pictures) to deny hard currency from the nuclear weapons-driven and human rights-abusing Kim regime (Chairman Royce will introduce this legislation in the coming weeks.);

  • Note:  In the 113th Congress, both the Committee and the House passed the bipartisan H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act, introduced by Chairman Royce.  The legislation would strengthen existing sanctions against North Korea by prohibiting North Korea’s access to critical resources — such as hard currency and other goods — that keeps the Kim regime in power.  Importantly, the legislation would hold North Korean officials accountable for gross human rights abuses, which were highlighted in the recent United Nations Commission of Inquiry.

Combating ISIS, including by supporting our partners in the fight;

  • Note:  In the 113th Congress, the Committee has convened more than 11 hearings focused on combating ISIS, including a hearing in early February 2014 entitled “Al-Qaeda’s Resurgence in Iraq: A Threat to U.S. Interests, during which the Committee forced the Administration to recognize this growing and overlooked threat.  Last night, the President asked Congress to formally authorize this mission.

Addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression;

  • Note:  Among other action in the 113th Congress, the Congress unanimously passed H.R. 5859, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which the President signed into law.  It authorizes the President to impose strengthened sanctions on Russia’s energy sector and on individuals and entities involved in Russia’s continuing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.  It also authorizes expanded U.S. military and other assistance to Ukraine and enhances U.S. international broadcasting  programs to counter Russian propaganda.

Safeguarding Israel’s right to exist in peace and security;

Conduct oversight of the Administration’s policy shift on Cuba, including evaluating the impact on U.S. vital national interests, the secretive nature of the diplomatic negotiations, and the security implications for U.S. diplomats and our embassy should diplomatic relations be reestablished;

Reforming the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the lead federal agency charged with communicating to foreign audiences and combating anti-American narratives such as those put forward by ISIS and Putin’s propaganda machine;

  • Note:  In the 113th Congress, both the Committee and the House unanimously passed H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014, introduced by Royce and Engel.  The legislation reforms the dysfunctional, ineffective, and mismanaged structures of the BBG’s component agencies including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN) so that they can better bring news and information to closed societies.

Promoting trade and American job creation through progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership trade agreements;

Combating international human trafficking, including by engaging and leveraging the work of international partners;

Pressing foreign governments in South and East Asia on greater respect for human rights;

  • Note:  In the 113th Congress, the Committee held numerous hearings on the human rights situation in China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.  The Committee also advanced numerous bills to press foreign governments, including Vietnam and North Korea,  to improve their respect for human rights.

Encouraging U.S. energy security by promoting increased natural gas exports and sound energy policy in the Western Hemisphere, including swift approval of the Keystone XL pipeline;

Increasing U.S. cybersecurity awareness and addressing state-sponsors of cyber-terrorism;

Supporting market-based economic growth through renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and passage of the  Electrify Africa Act.

  • Note:  In the 113th Congress, both the Committee and the House passed the bipartisan H.R. 2548, the Electrify Africa Act, introduced by Chairman Royce.  The Electrify Africa Act requires that the President establish a multiyear strategy to assist sub-Saharan African countries in increasing access to electricity for the nearly 600 million people who currently lack it.