featured graphic for Michelle Steel, Congresswoman for California’s 48th District, after COVID-19

Rep. Steel leads lawmakers in urging swift floor vote on Taiwan lend-lease bill

Rep. Michelle Steel led a bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives to send a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Leadership calling on them to bring up the Taiwan Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act for a floor vote. In response to escalating hostility from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) towards Taiwan in recent weeks, Rep. Steel introduced the bicameral, bipartisan legislation with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to authorize the Administration to lend or lease defense supplies to the Government of Taiwan in the event of an invasion by the CCP. Friday, August 12th is the only day the House has votes scheduled until September, meaning it is the last timely opportunity to pass this critical legislation.

“With the escalating threat of military force by the CCP, we believe the U.S. House of Representatives must demonstrate Congress’ continued intent to uphold the self-governance and democratic practices of Taiwan,” wrote the lawmakers. “A proactive approach should allow Taiwan, as proved critical for Ukraine, to start benefiting from American security and financial assistance prior to a full-scale invasion so that Taiwan can defend its democracy against authoritarian aggression.”

They continued, “To that end, we urge Leadership in the House of Representatives to immediately bring to the floor the bipartisan H.R. 8631, Taiwan Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, which would authorize the Administration to lend or lease defense articles to Taiwan should the CCP invade.”

They concluded, “We must realize Speaker Pelosi’s commitment to “helping Taiwan defend its freedom in the face of aggression” by passing the lend-lease act, providing financial security assistance, expanding bilateral exercises, enhancing our military infrastructure in the region, expediting the delay of delivery on arm sales, and more.”

Signers of the letter include Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and Carlos Gimenez (R-FL).

Read the full letter here or below.

“Dear Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise:

We write with bipartisan concern over rising tensions between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Taiwan. Xi Jinping is leading a comprehensive economic, military, and diplomatic pressure campaign to isolate and coerce Taiwan. Just last year, Xi declared the Communist Party’s “historic mission” was to take control of Taiwan, through force if necessary. This was on full display as the CCP conducted military exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for Speaker Pelosi’s visit. This, of course, falls against the backdrop of longer-standing destabilizing actions towards Taiwan, including cyberattacks and persistent incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

These actions are part of the CCP’s potential invasion strategy. The CCP has beefed up its military aggression in the South China Sea and is now planning its largest military drills in over 25 years that will impact Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines. This deliberate threat is already impacting airline routes and maritime shipping. More importantly, it threatens democracy, Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, and our allies in the Indo-Pacific.

The United States desperately needs a robust deterrence strategy for Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities. With the escalating threat of military force by the CCP, we believe the U.S. House of Representatives must demonstrate Congress’ continued intent to uphold the self-governance and democratic practices of Taiwan. A proactive approach should allow Taiwan, as proved critical for Ukraine, to start benefiting from American security and financial assistance prior to a full-scale invasion so that Taiwan can defend its democracy against authoritarian aggression.

To that end, we urge Leadership in the House of Representatives to immediately bring to the floor the bipartisan H.R. 8631, Taiwan Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, which would authorize the Administration to lend or lease defense articles to Taiwan should the CCP invade. This is a necessary precaution that will strengthen our ironclad relationship with Taiwan, reinforce deterrence against the CCP’s continuing encroachments, protect innocent lives, and support a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Additionally, we urge Leadership in the House of Representatives to support ongoing bipartisan measures that compliment a lend-lease program. There is growing Congressional support for providing Foreign Military Financing (FMF) or financial assistance modeled on the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and establishing an explicit and devastating sanctions regime to deter hostility in the first place. Furthermore, a number of bipartisan proposals in the House-passed version of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contribute to enhanced deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and must be preserved in conference with the Senate. These initiatives include expanding joint exercises with Taiwan’s military, instituting a whole of government Taiwan tabletop exercise to stress test our response to an invasion, and establishing a Seize the Initiative Fund to improve military readiness west of the International Date Line. These provisions demonstrate bipartisan and unwavering support for a free and open Indo-Pacific and a commitment to our allies and partners as they defend their sovereignty against adversaries around the globe.

Since 2014, Ukraine has benefited from a broad range of U.S. security assistance. This cooperation has played a vital role in the ability of Ukraine to defend its sovereignty and its citizens in light of Vladimir Putin’s reckless invasion. Taiwan is no less deserving of this kind of support. The time to act is now – not after the CCP invades. We applaud Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taipei and we commend Leadership on both sides of the aisle for their efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. But we must not stop there. As we saw in Ukraine, threats of sanctions are not enough. We must realize Speaker Pelosi’s commitment to “helping Taiwan defend its freedom in the face of aggression” by passing the lend-lease act, providing financial security assistance, expanding bilateral exercises, enhancing our military infrastructure in the region, expediting the delay of delivery on arm sales, and more.

We appreciate your consideration of this important matter and look forward to working further with you to fortify our vital relationship with Taiwan.”

This article was released by the Office of Congresswoman Michelle Steel.

3 Comments

  1. So where was Michelle Steel while a US congressional delegation led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on an unannounced two-day visit? (the second US congressional delegation to Taiwan this month) Michelle Steel just writes another letter and then does nothing to back it up, like joining the group traveling to Taiwan. Her foreign donors might get upset.

  2. I don’t remember Rep Steele speaking out to defend our right, our government leaders right that is, to visit any country we wish without interference or criticism from the PRC. This letter is Monday morning quarterbacking.

  3. Great going and thank you Rep. Steel! I can’t wait for you to represent me in Congress!

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