House Passes High-Level Visits Resolution In Wake Of Hsieh Visit
A few days after Frank Hsieh, former Premier of Taiwan and the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate for the March 2008 Presidential elections visited Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives today passed House Concurrent Resolution 136. This marks the first time such resolution is passed in the whole house despite several similar attempts took place in the past.
The resolution, introduced on May 1 by Taiwan Caucus co-chairs Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and co-sponsored by close to 50 Members of Congress, calls for the complete removal of all restrictions imposed on visits by Taiwan’s highest-level government officials to the U.S, including the President.
During a Congressional reception held last week welcoming Mr. Hsieh and which was well attended by almost 30 Members of Congress, many Representatives voiced their strong support for the resolution and urged the administration to abolish all restrictions on the visits.
Lantos’ Republican counterpart on the committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said there is a “broad bipartisan coalition” in Congress in favor of high-level visits. “It should not, however, only be former Premiers from Taiwan who lead delegations to Washington, DC. It should be sitting Premiers and other high-level Taiwan government officials.”, stated the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Cuban-born Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen at the reception.
“I hope that Frank Hsieh can travel to the United States at any time under all circumstances, if he is elected,” Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), one of the strongest voices on behalf of Taiwan in the United States Congress, said, verbalizing the sentiments of other Representatives present.
During debate on the House floor today, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) stated: “One of the most insensitive and insensible things we can do” is not to welcome Taiwan’s elected leaders to Washington DC.
FAPA President C.T. Lee states: “It is an utter irony that last week Frank Hsieh was being feted by Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, but if and when elected as the next president of Taiwan next March, he is no longer allowed to set foot on the soil of Washington DC!”
“It was encouraging to hear several House members, including the two most important leaders on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, conclude that the hi-level restrictions ought to be scrapped as soon as possible.”
“The high-level visits issue is FAPA’s number one campaign during this 110th Congress. For the past few months, we have mobilized all of our 56 chapters urging them to contact their Members of Congress. Why? Because welcoming Taiwanese democratically-elected leaders’ visits to the Nation’s Capital reinforces the American principle of promoting freedom and democracy worldwide.”
After passage today, the resolution is forwarded to the Senate.
第136號決議案於今年5月1日由台灣連線共同主席夏波(Steve Chabot, R-OH)與博克莉(Shelley Berkley, D-NV)聯合提出，並獲得近50位議員的聯署，決議案旨在呼籲廢除美國政府長期以來加諸於台灣官員，包括民選總統訪美的眾多限制。預計決議案於今日通過後，將轉交參議院。
在上週三美國國會歡迎謝前院長的酒會裡，許多議員們紛紛致詞表達對這個決議案的支持，並高分貝地呼籲行政部門解除對台官員的訪美限制。外交事務委員會的副主席蘿斯列支娜(Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL) 便在酒會裡表示美國國會對這項議題的支持是廣泛、橫跨黨派的；出生於古巴的她並在致詞中表示，「不應該只有前行政院長才能率團訪問華府，台灣的現任行政院長與其他高層官員也應該能率團到華府才是。」
另一位長期支持台灣的安德魯斯眾議員(Robert Andrews, D-NJ)表示：「我希望謝長廷先生，如果當選，能夠在任何時候、任何情況下訪問美國。」
美國新墨西哥州議員皮爾斯(Steve Pearce, R-NM)今日在議場上特地發言嘲諷目前現有的不合理政策，他表示：「我們美國能做到最麻木與最沒同情心的舉動之一就是拒絕台灣民選總統訪問華府。」