Seven House Democrats mark only ‘no’ votes on bill requiring State Department reports on Taiwan guidelines
Seven progressive House Democrats voted against a bill on Wednesday that would require periodic reviews and updated reports pertaining to the State Department’s guidelines for U.S. engagement with Taiwan, marking the only opposition to the bill.
The House approved the measure in an overwhelming 404-7 vote, with all opposition coming from Democrats: Reps. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Greg Casar (Texas), Summer Lee (Pa.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Delia Ramirez (Ill.) voted against the measure.
The bill calls for amending the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020 — which then-President Trump signed into law in December 2020 as part of the government funding bill — to require that the secretary of state conduct periodic reviews no less frequently than every two years.
The Taiwan Assurance Act — according to a statement from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), a sponsor of the bill — required that the State Department reassess self-imposed restrictions it had on U.S. relations with Taiwan. The State Department lifted all those restrictions in January 2021.
In a statement announcing the measure, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), a sponsor of the bill, said the reviews and updates must explain how the guidance deepens and expands relations between the U.S. and Taiwan, and recognize opportunities to remove “any remaining self-imposed limitations on U.S.-Taiwan engagement and articulate a plan to do so.”
Additionally, updates from the State Department would be required to “give due consideration to the fact that Taiwan is a democratic partner and a free and open society that respects universal human rights and democratic values” and ensure that how the U.S. conducts its relationship with Taiwan “reflects the longstanding, comprehensive, and values-based relationship the United States shares with Taiwan” and contributes to the peaceful resolution of issues across the Strait.
The seven Democrats did not indicate on the House floor nor on social media why they voted against the measure. The Hill reached out to them for comment.
Bowman, Omar and Ramirez — joined by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) — were also the only lawmakers to vote against a bill on Thursday that would direct the secretary of state to submit a report to Congress on the department’s efforts to implement the advanced capabilities section of the U.S., United Kingdom and Australian trilateral security partnership, which is commonly referred to as AUKUS.
None of the four described their vote on social media.
President Biden and the then-prime ministers of Australia and the UK announced the AUKUS partnership in September 2021, presenting it as a trilateral security partnership focused on the Indo-Pacific region as a veiled way to challenge China’s growing authority in the region.
The report, according to the measure, would include information on application reviews for licenses to export defense articles or services to Australia or the UK from 2021 and 2022. For fiscal years 2017 through 2022, the number of voluntary disclosures that resulted in a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations involving Australia or the UK would be included in the report.
Additionally, the report would include an assessment of key recommendations the U.S. made for the Australian and UK governments to revise laws, regulations and policies for their countries that are required to implement the AUKUS partnership.
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