Senators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan

Kudos to the senators who urged President Trump on Friday to move ahead on delayed arms sales to Taiwan amid congressional concern the White House is ready to curry favor with Beijing at Taipei’s expense.

Four Republicans and four Democrats wrote a letter to Trump urging him to maintain firm U.S. support for Taiwan, including providing weapons it needs to defend itself against China, regardless of Washington’s diplomatic initiatives with Beijing. They issued a bipartisan appeal amid concern the White House is abandoning Taiwan to please China. In their letter to Trump, the senators said the United States also needed to consult closely with Taiwan as it will soon need major military hardware, including new fighter jets, submarines, missile defense and electronic warfare systems.


Taiwan is an important ally and the Trump administration needs to do everything possible to make sure that it remains that way. Former President Ronald Reagan issued the “six assurances” in 1982, stipulating that the U.S. will not set an end date to arms sales to Taiwan, would not alter the Taiwan Relations Act, would not hold consultations with China over arms sales to Taiwan, would not mediate between Taiwan and China, would not pressure Taiwan to negotiate with China and would not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. The Trump administration must end the practice of putting off U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and bundling them in a package at more convenient political moments. The arms sales should proceed at a regular and routine pace without trying to finely calibrate the timing. 

The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Toward that end, the United States must support and encourage improvements in cross-Strait relations, albeit at a pace acceptable to the people on both sides. Strong United States support for Taiwan autonomy also helps give 23 million people in Taiwan the confidence to strengthen their cross-Strait relations. Taiwan’s democracy is incredibly important to the region as a guidepost for other nations to follow. 

The letter sent on June 23 was signed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate Armed Services chair not convinced of need for Trump's Space Force Jenny McCarthy: ‘The View’ producers asked me to ‘act Republican’ Flake warns in farewell speech: US political climate 'is not healthy' MORE (R-Ariz.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Defense: Senate moves toward vote on bill ending support for Saudi war | House GOP blocks Yemen war votes for rest of year | Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget | Key Dem to leave transgender troop ban to courts George H.W. Bush remembered at Kennedy Center Honors Democratic senator: US must maintain strategic relationship with Saudis and hold them accountable MORE (D-Md.), Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator floats options to prevent shutdown Congress strikes deal on bill for sexual harassment cases involving lawmakers The Hill's Morning Report — Takeaways from the battle royal in the Oval Office MORE (R-Texas) and Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump Senators offer measure naming Saudi crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Meet Maduro, Venezuela's copycat dictator MORE (R-Fla.), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenate Armed Services chair not convinced of need for Trump's Space Force Overnight Defense: Senate moves toward vote on bill ending support for Saudi war | House GOP blocks Yemen war votes for rest of year | Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget | Key Dem to leave transgender troop ban to courts The Year Ahead: Trump throws uncertainty into Pentagon budget MORE (R-Okla.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMore oversight of America’s international media networks a good idea Pro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems Trump lowers refugee goal to 30,000, he must meet it MORE (D-N.J.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Massachusetts is leading the way on gun safety, but we can’t do it alone Lobbying World MORE (D-Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (D-Ore.). 

From Kent Wang, research fellow at the Institute for Taiwan-America Studies, Washington, D.C. 

Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzDems eyeing ban on sleeping in offices Hillicon Valley: House Dems to investigate Ivanka Trump's email use | Trump calls controversy 'fake news' | Malware attributed to Russian hackers | Holiday cyber shopping tips | Group calls for Facebook whistleblowers House Dems to investigate Ivanka Trump's email use MORE’s dishonorable request for housing allowance

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-Utah) call for a $2,500 per month housing allowance for members of Congress. Granted, the last time I looked was two years ago, but I doubt much has changed since then. Here are the facts about our poor lawmakers:

First, the median net worth of a member of Congress is more than $1 million, compared to an average American household’s median net worth of about $60,000. And second, the majority of members in Congress are millionaires. 

People who run for the House and Senate know ahead of time how much it takes to live in Washington. This is why some lawmakers ask their colleagues to be roommates. Why would taxpayers need to underwrite their representative’s monthly living expenses? We already help pay for their staff, travel, mailings and district offices to the tune of $1 million a year.

It’s an honor to serve in Congress. It’s dishonorable to ask hard working Americans to pay for their monthly rent.

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.