WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed news that the House Republican leadership has tapped Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Ed Royce (R-Calif.) to lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 113th Congress, beginning in January 2013.
The decision by the Republican Steering Committee, chaired by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), came Tuesday evening, with the full Republican Conference expected to ratify the appointment today. He is replacing Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who is term-limited out based on Republican House rules.
“As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Royce has been a champion on fundamental human rights concerns from Armenian Genocide affirmation to securing Turkey’s return of confiscated Christian churches and properties,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “The ANCA looks forward to working with him in the next Congress on a broad range of Armenian American concerns.”
Rep. Royce has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee since entering Congress in 1993. He has been chairman or ranking member of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee for the past eight years. Prior to that, Rep. Royce chaired the Africa Subcommittee for eight years, and has been active on the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee.
As Republican Co-Chairman of the Congressional Armenian Caucus since February, 2011, Rep. Royce has led on a range of Armenian American concerns, successfully spearheading efforts along with current House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to secure House passage of the Return of Churches resolution (H.Res.306), which calls on Turkey to return confiscated Christian churches and properties to their rightful owners and allow for expanded freedom of worship. He has been a perennial cosponsor and advocate for U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide since his years in the California State Senate.
Rep. Royce has also been outspoken regarding the right to self-determination for Nagorno Karabakh. Commenting on the presidential elections held in July, 2012, Rep. Royce noted “I commend the people of Nagorno-Karabakh for holding peaceful and honest elections. Throughout the years we have seen a trend of its electoral system working in proper fashion and the most recent election maintains that precedent. Voting embodies a functioning democracy, I applaud all in Nagorno-Karabakh for putting democracy into action.” Rep. Royce is joining Congressional Armenian Caucus Democratic Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) in hosting a Capitol Hill celebration of Karabakh freedom on Dec. 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Russell Senate Office Building Rm. 385.
In appreciation for his years of support on core Armenian American concerns, Rep. Royce was awarded the ANCA Western Region “Man of the Year” award in 2011. He has consistently received an A+ rating from the ANCA.