House approves sale of missile frigates to Taiwan

The House on Monday gave voice-vote approval to legislation that would authorize the sale of four naval vessels to Taiwan.

"These ships would bolster Taiwan's defense," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

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The bill, H.R. 3470, allows for the sale of four Perry class guided missile frigates to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act. That's the 1979 law that outlines U.S.-Taiwan relations, and allows the U.S. to offer Taiwan military aid if China attacks Taiwan.

"America's support for Taiwan has allowed this island nation to realize its full potential," Royce said after the vote. "It is now more important than ever that we reaffirm our strong commitment to Taiwan and the Taiwan Relations Act."

The bill would also authorize the transfer of surplus decommissioned naval vessels to Mexico and Thailand.

"These transfers help support the priorities of the U.S. Navy while strengthening the capability of allies and hoer close partners to meet our shared maritime security objectives," Royce said.

The transfer authority established by the legislation would expire after three years.

The House also approved two other bills today by voice vote:

— S. 404, the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act, to preserve an area of Washington state affected by the March mudslide. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., passed the Senate last week by unanimous consent.

— H.R. 4323, the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act, to reauthorize grants through 2019 to states to conduct DNA analyses of samples collected from crime victims. The grants would also include funding for DNA training and education for law enforcement officers.