FAPA Applauds Unanimous Passage of Taiwan Policy Act (TPA) in House Subcommittee
(Washington, D.C. April 25th 2013) -- Today the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed HR419, aka the Taiwan Policy Act (TPA).
The TPA was introduced on January 25, 2013 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), John Carter (R-TX) and Albio Sires (D-NJ) "to strengthen and clarify the commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan."
It is a comprehensive bill that addresses over a dozen different aspects of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, and updates the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to reflect the new realities in this U.S.-Taiwan relationship. The TPA builds on the TRA (which has functioned effectively as the cornerstone of US-Taiwan relations over the past three decades). It does not amend or supersede the TRA.
The TPA had been introduced during the previous 112th Congress, was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee but did not make it to the floor by the time Congress adjourned for the year in the fall of 2012.
During the April 25 markup hearing, the following 8 Representatives attended the hearing: Steve Chabot (R-OH), Eni Faleomavaega (D-SA), Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Doug Collins (R-GA), Scott Perry (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA).
Chairman Chabot stated: "This bill strengthens the relations of our two nations. And I want to emphasize "Two Nations" for Taiwan is a democracy, an old friend and ally, and it deserves to be treated as such by the U.S. government." Rep. Faleomavaega said: "Reason why we pass this Act, is that we want to achieve that the leaders of Taiwan can continue to practice their democracy."
Rep. Rohrabacher emphasized that Taiwan is a free and independent country. Rep. Perry: "I believe we should break through the barrier of conventional wisdom in our relations with Taiwan and work towards the normalization of relations." Rep. Ros-Lehtinen concluded: "Taiwan continues to be such an essential alley to the United States. This bill reiterates our support, and tells the Taiwanese people just how deeply we value that friendship."
FAPA President Mark Kao, Ph.D. says: "This bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to address U.S.-Taiwan relations over the past decade and, if passed, will greatly bolster Taiwan's ability to preserve its freedom of action in the international community."
Dr. Kao concluded: "Next, the bill has to pass the House Foreign Affairs Committee, then the floor of the House to be followed by introduction in the Senate where the bill has to follow a similar path. We at FAPA will mobilize all our members all over the United States on the grassroots level to help ensure that this critically important bill becomes law at the earliest opportunity."