Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released this statement following tonight’s State of the Union address:

“In too many corners of the globe, America’s enemies are strengthening, the threat from terrorist groups is growing, and American leadership is lacking.  Tonight, the President did little to show that the United States is still the essential global leader in combating terrorism and maintaining peace.  The world is very challenging, but too many conflicts have escaped the type of sustained and intense U.S. engagement our interests demand, whether it be Syria, Yemen or Libya.  The President has been eager to declare victory over jihadist groups.  We can only wish it were so.

“The President presented a false choice on Iran sanctions.  We can have negotiations and more economic pressure.  The Obama Administration has been negotiating with Tehran for over a year.  Meanwhile, Tehran has advanced its nuclear capabilities.  By the Administration’s own account, significant differences remain with Iran.  One thing that could change Tehran’s resistance to accepting a meaningful and effective agreement to keep it from developing a nuclear weapons capability is the threat of more economic pressure. Economic pressure is the only reason the Iranian regime is at the table.  Instead of ruling out what has worked, the President should work with Congress to increase the negotiating pressure on Iran.

“Likewise, we badly need tougher sanctions on North Korea, especially in light of its cyberattacks.

“I am pleased that the President called for Congress to take up and pass legislation needed for trade agreements.  Trade legislation is essential if the United States is to open up markets for American producers.  Legislation to authorize force against ISIS, which he called for,  would strengthen our fight against Islamist terrorists.  But strong leadership from the President, so far lacking, will be essential in building bipartisan support for both of these initiatives.”