Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the recently publicized letter to President Obama from a broad coalition of former members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), journalists, and former BBG employees.  In the letter, they ask the President to support H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014, which improves the missions, objectives, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters.  The legislation unanimously passed the Foreign Affairs Committee in April.

Chairman Royce said: “I appreciate the wide support given this important piece of legislation.  For too long, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has been dysfunctional, inefficient, and ineffective as noted by numerous reports from the Office of the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. We are trying to counter Russian propaganda – and that of our adversaries throughout the world – with one hand behind our back.  This is urgent legislation that I expect my colleagues to support when it comes to the floor later today.”

In the letter to President Obama, the signatories write, “Today we are engaged in a battle of ideas with state and non-state media… U.S. international broadcasting is an important element of our national power that can no longer be neglected and allowed to decline.  We, the undersigned, urge you to support the forthcoming legislation with resolve and urgency.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.

Note:  In June 2013, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on ways to reform the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014, is a bipartisan effort to implement the reforms that were identified during that hearing.