An act that allows the U.S. to temporarily supply Taiwan with weapons using its own stores and speedup arms transfers received bipartisan support in the House on Wednesday.
The Arms Exports Delivery Solutions Act requires that the State and Defense Departments monitor arms transfers to Taiwan and other allies in the Asia-Pacific region and take steps to address delays in production and transportation, according to the bill.
The act also mandates that the Secretaries of State and Defense submit a report by 2024 describing the progress of arms sales to partners in the Asia-Pacific, including Taiwan, according to the bill. The secretaries should also submit a “separate description of the actions the United States is taking to expedite deliveries of defense articles and services to Taiwan” that includes any plans to divert resources from U.S. weapons stocks “to provide an interim capability or solution with respect to any delayed deliveries to Taiwan.”
Democratic House Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia became the first Democrat to back the legislation on Wednesday, according to a statement. She said in a statement that the bill would help the U.S. defend its allies, citing a pandemic-related backlog in fulfilling $14.2 billion worth of Taiwanese weapons acquisitions since 2019, according to documents obtained by Defense News in April.
Republican Reps. Young Kim of California and Michael McCaul of Texas introduced the bill on June 27.
As a former CIA case officer, I know that the Chinese Communist Party is not backing down from its destabilizing actions in the Indo-Pacific.
— Rep. Abigail Spanberger (@RepSpanberger) July 6, 2022
“But without a full accounting of these articles and the contributing factors to their shipment delays, we are not doing all we can to protect our security partners and deter the [Chinese Communist Party],” she said.
China has upped the ante on its claim to sovereignty over Taiwanese territory since Biden took office. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price hesitated to comment on the existence of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan at a May press briefing.
Lawmakers reportedly expressed concern that the U.S.’ focus on helping Ukraine defend itself from Russia had distracted the country from supporting its Asia-Pacific partners in the event of a Chinese invasion, Defense News reported.
How much support the Arms Exports Delivery Solutions Act will obtain in Congress is unknown, according to Politico.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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