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Rep. Ed Royce, Pro-Israel Republican Who Sought Bipartisanship, Is Retiring

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the top House foreign affairs lawmaker known for his support of Israel and for being the rare lawmaker who championed bipartisanship, is leaving Congress.

“This final year of my Foreign Affairs Committee chairmanship, I want to focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation, including: the brutal, corrupt and dangerous regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran, Vladimir Putin’s continued efforts to weaponize information to fracture western democracies, and growing terrorist threats in Africa and Central Asia,” Royce, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement released late Monday. “With this in mind, and with the support of my wife Marie, I have decided not to seek re-election in November.”

Royce stood out for his pro-Israel steadfastness, which he said was rooted in hearing his father recount the horrors he witnessed as a GI who helped liberate Dachau.

Royce and his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., also were what has become a rarity: A bipartisan pair who consulted closely before advancing legislation, with the aim of garnering as much support as possible in Congress. In 2017 alone, Royce and Engel successfully advanced legislation that added sanctions targetting Iran’s missile development, that made aid to the Palestinians conditional on not rewarding families of Palestinians who killed Israelis, that enhanced reporting on European anti-Semitism and that slammed the Obama administration for allowing through a U.N. Security Council resolution attacking Israel’s settlement policies.

Royce is the latest moderate Republican to announce he won’t run again. His Orange County district went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and with Democrats galvanized to retake Congress this year, Republicans in swing districts are seen as facing an uphill battle.

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