U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES UNANIMOUSLY PASSES TAIWAN TRAVEL ACT + WHO FOR TAIWAN BILL
Today, on January 9, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act (HR535.)
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced the Taiwan Travel Act on January 13, 2017.
The binding Taiwan Travel Act legislation states that Congress finds that: “Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered from a lack of communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan.” It concludes that: “the United States Government should encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels.”
Besides bill introducer Steve Chabot, the bill currently enjoys the co-sponsorship of 80 members of Congress, such as House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Asian Subcommittee chairman Ted Yoho (R-FL), Asian Subcommittee ranking member Brad Sherman (D-CA), former House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). Chabot himself is a long-time Taiwan supporter, former chairman of the Asian Subcommittee and founding co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.
On May 4, 2017, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Taiwan Travel Act in the Senate. The bill currently enjoys the co-sponsorship of 7 Senators.
During the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on October 12, 2017, Rep. Chabot added: “This policy is nonsense. The US has a legal and moral commitment to defend democratic Taiwan. So, this policy goes against our own self-interest. It is time to end this outlandish and outdated policy.”
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said: “We should welcome Taiwanese officials here. Taiwan deserves more attention. We must build stronger ties with our allies in Taiwan.”
Bill introducer Brad Sherman (D-CA): “The president of Taiwan cannot visit Washington DC. But she can refuel in Los Angeles. What an absurd fiction. It is time for us to grow up. Taiwan’s most important leaders should be able to come to DC and talk to the Legislative and Executive Branch. Every year China threatens Taiwan. What is the mildest the US can do to these ongoing provocative actions? Passing the Taiwan Travel Act.”
Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): “We are harming and insulting an ally with these restrictions. And we give China a veto over our policy decisions. Who we choose to meet with is OUR sovereign right. I hope the administration will reverse these damaging policies.”
Bill introducer, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH): “One of the most important improvements we can make in US-Taiwan relations is letting the president of Taiwan visit Washington DC. These restrictions are not only insulting, they are counterproductive. They are outdated and it is time for a change.”
FAPA President Peter Chen states: Today’s passage of the Taiwan Travel Act continues the momentum of the signing into law of the National Defense Authorization Act on December 12 which, among other issues, lists the Taiwan Relations Act and the “Six Assurances” as continuing US legal commitments. It is good to see that the vilified three communiques are more and more relegated to the ash heap of history – where they belong.”
Peter Chen adds: “Today is a momentous day with the unanimous passage of the Taiwan Travel Act. The action now moves to the Senate where we will do whatever we can to make sure it passes as well; sooner rather than later. “
Peter Chen concludes: “The United States and Taiwan are allies that share common values and the removal of these self-imposed restrictions will promote greater cooperation between the two nations and enhance mutual economic, political, and security interests."
Peter Chen adds: “Taiwanese Americans are especially grateful to bill introducers Reps. Chabot, Royce and Sherman and to all other members of Congress that have been part of this success story.
On the same day, HR3320, directing the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization, was also passed unanimously by the House of Representatives.