One day after the election ensured Republicans will keep their majority in the next Congress, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., made his first public play to secure the chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Royce, who currently chairs the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade subcommittee, officially announced on Wednesday his intention to replace current chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who is facing a term limit.
Royce already has some fighting words for his objectives under the next Obama administration: "If selected as chairman, I will work against the Administration's most harmful foreign policies, and exercise strong oversight over the State Department and other agencies," Royce said in a statement. "The Administration's behavior in the Benghazi incident still demands a credible accounting."
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who currently chairs the Africa, Global Health and Human Rights subcommittee, is also vying for the position. But GOP leadership aides have said Royce, who is also vice chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, appears to have the inside track.
Ros-Lehtinen sent a letter to the steering committee strongly supporting Royce's candidacy, according to the statement from his office. "I am honored to have Chairman Ros-Lehtinen's support," Royce said. "She has seen my work over many years and has confidence in my ability to lead the Committee going forward."