Today, on October 12, 2017, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act (HR535) clearing the way for the bill to go to the floor of the House for a vote.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced the Taiwan Travel Act on January 13, 2017.

The binding Taiwan Travel Act legislation states that Congress finds that: “Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered from a lack of communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan.” It concludes that: “the United States Government should encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels.”

Besides bill introducer Steve Chabot, the bill enjoys the co-sponsorship of 54 members of Congress, such as House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Asian Subcommittee chairman Ted Yoho (R-FL), Asian Subcommittee ranking member Brad Sherman (D-CA), former House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). Chabot himself is a long-time Taiwan supporter, former chairman of the Asian Subcommittee and founding co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

On May 4, 2017, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Taiwan Travel Act in the Senate.

During the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing today, Rep. Chabot added: “This policy is nonsense. The US has a legal and moral commitment to defend democratic Taiwan. So, this policy goes against our own self-interest. It is time to end this outlandish and outdated policy.”

In a blog post dated December 7, 2016, Rep. Chabot wrote: “Buckling to Chinese sensitivities, U.S. presidents haven’t talked to Taiwanese presidents (even though Taiwan is our ally, and China is a pain in the a**.) In fact, the top four Taiwanese officials, the president, the vice president, the foreign minister, and the defense minister, are not even allowed to enter Washington D.C. (although the pain in the a** Chinese leaders are welcome.) This is just nuts.”

FAPA President Peter Chen states: “Rep. Chabot is right. The U.S. self-imposed restrictions on high-level visits from Taiwan ARE nuts. After all, this is American soil. So it should be the prerogative of the United States ONLY to decide who can visit Washington DC, not the prerogative of the communist leaders in Beijing. After all, the United States and Taiwan

are allies that share common values and the removal of restrictions will promote greater cooperation between the two nations and enhance mutual economic, political, and security interests.”

 

2017年10月12日,美國眾議院外交事務委員會無異議通過「台灣旅行法」(HR535),下一階段將提交到眾院進行表決。

這個法案是在今年一月由眾議員夏波(R-OH)、薛爾曼(D-CA),和外交委員會主席羅伊斯議員(R-CA)共同提出。

「台灣旅行法」是具有國會約束力的法案,它明確指出「美國政府應鼓勵美國和台灣在各個層面上進行訪問」。類似的決議案曾於2016年九月在眾議院和參議院同時提出。
這項法案提到,美國國會認為「自從台灣關係法制定後,由於美國自身對於台灣高層訪美的自我設限,台灣與美國始終缺乏有效的溝通,顯著地阻礙了台美關係的發展。」因此,作為結論,「美國政策理應當促進美國與台灣之間所有層級的互訪。」

除了提案的夏波議員之外,這項法案總共有高達54位國會議員共同連署,包含眾議院外交事務委員會主席羅伊斯議員、外交委員會亞太事務小組主席約霍議員(R-FL)、亞太事務小組副主席薛曼議員(D-CA)、外交事務委員會前任主席蘿斯蕾婷娜議員(R-FL),以及法案委員會主席賽軒議員(R-TX)。夏波議員自身則是台灣長年以來的堅定支持者,也是前任亞太事務小組主席,與國會台灣連線的共同發起人與共同主席。

在2017年的5月4日,美國參議院的魯比歐參議員(R-FL)、布朗參議員(D-OH)、殷荷菲參議員(R-OK)、梅南德茲參議員(D-NJ)、賈德納參議員(R-CO)以及彼德斯參議員(D-MI)共同提出參議院版的「台灣旅行法」。

在今天眾院外交事務委員會的聽證會上,夏波議員補充道:「現今的的政策簡直是胡扯。美國在法律上、道德上皆對台灣有承諾,承諾捍衛民主的台灣;而現今的政策與美國的利益完全悖離。是時候終結這項不合時宜的政策了,而台灣旅行法正是絕佳的新起點。」

夏波議員曾在2016年12月7日的一篇部落格文章中寫到:「向中國的敏感性屈服,美國總統們長年以來都無法和台灣總統說上一句話(即便台灣是我們的盟友,而中國則一直替美國製造麻煩)。事實上,台灣最重要的四位官員,總統、副總統、外交部長、國防部長,甚至不能進入華盛頓特區。(而麻煩製造者中國的領導人卻能夠進入華府),這簡直瘋了。」

台灣人公共事務會(FAPA)會長陳正義說到:「夏波議員說得沒錯,美國自我設限、限制台灣高層的拜訪,簡直太荒謬了。只有美國有權力來決定誰可以訪問華府,這件事不應容許北京的共產領袖置喙。畢竟,美國與台灣是享有共同價值的盟友,去除高層互訪的限制可以促進兩個國家在經濟、政治、區域安全等層面進一步的合作。」

(October 12th, 2017) House Foreign Affairs Committee Unanimously Passes Taiwan Travel Act /  眾議院外交事務委員會無異議通過「台灣旅行法」