Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed recent support from the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1812, the Union representing Voice of America (VOA) workers, for H.R. 4490. The bipartisan legislation reforms U.S. international broadcasting and recently passed the Committee unanimously.

Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490), which improves the missions, objectives, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters, such as the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and the Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN).

In a June 7 letter of support, AFGE Local 1812 wrote: “In the end, some of the currently entrenched senior management represent a far greater threat to VOA’s journalistic independence, indeed to the very existence of the VOA, by abandoning the Charter and trying to turn VOA into something they envisioned as a global variant of CNN. The U.S. taxpayers and Congress are not providing funding for just another news service. That is why there are three parts to the VOA Charter.  We support the passage of this Bill.” Read the full letter HERE.

In a June 2 letter under the heading “Congressional Reform Bells are Ringing,” the union wrote: “Why the need for this legislation? Most of us, who have experienced it close-up and personal, know that under the leadership of the past dozen years or so, the Agency has lost its way. It no longer functions as the Voice of America (VOA) but rather as a wanna-be, very pale imitation of CNN and a content supplier to other broadcasters — something it was never meant to be and which is neither contained nor foreseen in the VOA Charter.”  Read the full letter HERE.

More information on bipartisan legislation to reform U.S. international broadcasting is available HERE, including a fact sheet and letters of support.