Rep. Ed Royce “disgusted” by killing of American journalist

 Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the purported killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff:
“I am disgusted by what appears to be another horrendous killing of an American journalist at the hands of ISIS.  My thoughts and prayers are with Steven Sotloff’s family.  Sadly, ISIS is bringing this barbarity across the region – beheading and crucifying those who don’t share their dark ideology.  The threat from this group seems to grow by the day.  Working with key allies, the United States needs to be acting urgently to arm the Kurds on the ground who are fighting them, and targeting ISIS from the air with drone strikes.”

Walnut Rotary welcomes new international president from Taiwan

New Rotary International President Gary Huang promises to “light up” the worldwide service club. Only a month into his term, Huang lit up the banquet room of the Diamond Bar Golf Course on Friday.

The Rotary Club of Walnut Valley hosted the reception for the new president from Taiwan. Huang noted he was the first Chinese president in the Rotary’s 109 year history.

The service club is one of the oldest and largest organizations in the world, with more than 1.2 million members. Rotary International has led the way on important global issues like polio.

“With the help of the United States government, Rotary International has reduced polio by 90 percent,” Huang said. “And with their continued support, we will eradicate this disease.”

The club has saved millions of children since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. In fact, Rotarians have helped immunize more than 2 billion children against polio in 122 countries. Now it wants to eradicate the disease forever.

“The people we are helping are my grandchildren and your children all over the world,” Huang explained. “Because we decided we are going to keep them safe.”

Working with the World Health Organization, Rotary International hopes to announce a polio free world by the end of 2018. Huang pointed out there were more than 450,000 cases of polio in 125 countries only 30 years ago. But now only three countries reported less than 400 cases this year.

“We are this close to ending polio,” Huang said, “and many of you have contribute to this incredible job.”

The new Rotary president lauded people like Rep. Ed Royce (R-Rowland Heights) for being a champion in the fight against polio. Royce later received an award for his hard work from Huang.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ROTARY.

Ed Royce speaks at reception for Rotary President in Diamond Bar

Gary C.K. Huang, President of Rotary International, will attend the Rotary International reception on Aug. 8  from noon to 2 p.m. at Diamond Bar Golf Course. Huang is the first Taiwanese president of Rotary International in its 109 year history.

With 1.2 million members, Rotary International is one of the largest and oldest Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the world. Rotary International takes leadership role on important global issues.

At the upcoming Rotary International reception, he will talk about the vision for the 2014-2015 Rotary year.  He will also share his values, business experiences and life as Rotarian. U.S. Representative Ed Royce, a long-time friend, will be the event’s guest speaker.

As head of Rotary International, Mr. Huang has dedicated his efforts to developing membership throughout Asia by setting a recruitment goal of 100 new donor-foundations in Taiwan to help celebrate Rotary’s centennial. His accomplishments added more than $2 million to the foundation’s annual fund.


Rep. Ed Royce of Rowland Heights convenes hearing on ISIS threat in Iraq

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will convene a hearing to examine the terrorist advance in Iraq, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the U.S. response:.  The hearing, entitled “Terrorist March in Iraq: The U.S. Response” will begin at 10 a.m.

Live webcast of the hearing, as well as witness testimony, will be available HERE.

Below is Chairman Royce’s opening statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:

This hearing will come to order.  This morning we consider the U.S. response to the terrorist take-over in Iraq.

Nearly six months ago, this Committee held a hearing “Al-Qaeda’s Resurgence in Iraq: A Threat to U.S. Interests.”  Then, the Administration testified that ISIS had begun to shift resources from Syria to Iraq in early 2013, that it had tripled its suicide attacks that year, and that it planned to challenge the Iraqi government for control of western Iraq and Baghdad.  The Administration testified that it had become aware that ISIS had established armed camps, staging areas and training grounds in Iraq’s western desert in the summer of 2013 and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had again threatened to attack the United States.

The Administration told us that ISIS must be “constantly pressured, and their safe havens destroyed” and that its objective was “to ensure that ISIS can never again gain safe haven in western Iraq.”  However, what the Administration did not say was that the Iraqi government had been urgently requesting drone strikes against ISIS camps since August 2013.  These repeated requests, unfortunately, were turned down.  I added my voice for drone strikes as ISIS convoys raced across the desert.

Since that last hearing, ISIS has done precisely what the Administration predicted it would: it has taken over most of western Iraq, it has turned its sights on Baghdad, and it may be preparing to launch attacks against the U.S.  Never has a terrorist organization itself controlled such a large, resource-rich safe haven as ISIS does today.  Never has a terrorist organization possessed the heavy weaponry, cash and personnel that ISIS does today – which includes thousands of western passport holders.

The Iraqi population is terrorized; they have suffered mass executions and harsh sharia law.  Last week, the remaining members of the ancient Christian community in Mosul fled on foot in face of ISIS demands that they convert or face death.

To be clear, ISIS’s take-over has been aided by Prime Minister Maliki’s malfeasance and incompetence.  Maliki has disastrously failed to reconcile with key Sunni groups.  Many – including myself and Ranking Member Engel –urged him to form a more inclusive government so that ISIS could not exploit legitimate Sunni grievances.  Maliki has only proven himself to be a committed sectarian; certainly no statesman.  It is time for Iraqis to move forward in forming a government that serves the interests of all Iraqis.

What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications – including credible threats of international terrorism, humanitarian disaster, and upward pressure on energy prices in a fragile global economy.  Meanwhile, terrorist forces and the Iranian government are gaining power at the expense of regional security and friendly governments.

Of course, only Iraqis can control their future.  And the performance on the battle field of certain Iraqi units was abysmal.  Americans have spent enough blood and treasure in Iraq.  And that is exactly why the Administration should have taken the opportunity to inflict decisive damage on ISIS from the air through drone strikes while its fighters were encamped in the desert months ago.

This morning we are joined by a senior State Department official who has been in Baghdad for several weeks and an official from the Department of Defense involved in the current assessment of Iraqi security forces to learn of the path forward in dealing with this national security emergency.

I’ll now turn to the Ranking Member, Mr. Engel, for any opening comments.

Ed Royce Applauds House Vote to Support Israel

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of H. Res. 657, which expresses support for Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.

The adopted measure includes a Royce amendment that calls attention to the destabilizing role that Iran continues to play and recognizes the close cooperation between the United States and Israel.  Following the resolution’s unanimous passage, the Chairman issued the following statement:

“Today, the House reaffirmed its support for Israel to take all necessary and appropriate action to defend its citizens. Hamas and their supporters remain committed to armed struggle against Israel’s right to exist–as they deliberately target Israeli population centers using many weapons provided by Iran. With these threats arrayed against Israel, we will continue stand with the Israeli people.”