Edward “Ed” Royce is a republican U.S. representative for California’s 40th congressional district, in Orange County. Representative Royce was born in Los Angeles and attended California State University, Fullerton, and became a state senator in 1982. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1993.
He has served most recently on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, he sits on the Asia and the Pacific subcommittee, and serves as Chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade subcommittee.
Royce has a long history of engaging Asia. He championed human rights and democracy in Vietnam, spearheading legislation to make non-humanitarian aid contingent on the release of political prisoners and implementation of civil liberties. He co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on India, led the push to create Radio Free Asia to reach out to citizens of authoritarian political systems. He has also been instrumental in policy discussions vis-à-vis North Korea, particularly regarding human rights, nonproliferation, and the repatriation of refugees.
Why is he in the news?
Royce was appointed November 28 to Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for the 113th U.S. Congress. He stated that his most immediate task was confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which he characterized as the “gravest threat” to U.S. national security.
As Chairman, he will be responsible for overseeing legislation that impacts the diplomatic and foreign policy community, which includes the Department of State, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, the United Nations, and the enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act. He will manage a committee of 26 republicans and 18 democrats.
What can we expect from him?
He assumes the chairmanship as President Obama advances his policy of rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific. His previous advocacy for human rights and democracy suggests that his chairmanship will not let economic motivations dominate the legislative debate at the cost of human rights concerns.
Royce will confront a range of challenges in Asia as the United States navigates its role in an evolving regional architecture. He is currently pushing for efforts to re-invigorate the US-Philippine alliance, which benefited from successful bi-lateral defense dialogue earlier this week. Major issues in 2013 include managing relations with Myanmar to ensure that American overtures continue to reflect genuine political and economic reforms, and working to shape regional trade and economic architecture through initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.