The House Committee on Foreign Affairs traces its origins back to November of 1775. The sole purpose of the it was to, “correspond with our friends of Great Britain, Ireland, and other parts of the world.” Here are some facts about it:
· Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Johnson Jr., John Dickinson and John Jay all made up the very first committee.
· It had many different names throughout its history, some include: originally the Committee of Correspondence, then Committee of Secret Correspondence, and even more recently, the Committee on International Relations.
· There are six subcommittees currently set up within the full committee.
· There are a total of 44 members; 25 Republicans and 19 Democrats.
· Edward Royce (R) has been the chairman of the committee since 2013, and also the chairman of two subcommittees: Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade in Asia and the Pacific.
· It has legislative influence over some very important organizations such as the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, the United Nations among others.
· There have been two American Presidents that have been apart of the committee: James K. Polk and John Quincy Adams.
· The most recent Oversight Plan of the Committee (January 2015) can be found on their website, it outlines most of the focuses of the committee for this year specifically; some of the focuses include ISIS, North Korea, Foreign Assistance and Human Rights.
· You can watch/listen to any of their hearings on their website in order to understand what happens in their decision making processes (http://foreignaffairs.house.
– Erik Shane