Taiwan Envoy Act

Overview

  • Sponsor: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Steve Chabot (R-OH)
  • Introduced: 12/23/2019
  • Committees: House - Foreign Affairs
  • Latest Action: House - 01/14/2020 Referred to the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation.
  • Co-Sponsor: Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ)
  • Full Text

Current Status

The American Institute in Taiwan is a non-profit organization created under the auspices of the U.S. government. The Department of State, through a semi-official contract with AIT, provides guidance and some funding in its operations. Primarily staffed by employees of the State Department, it serves as a de facto embassy providing services normally provided by a United States diplomatic mission. Due to its unique position, the appointment of an American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director, the U.S. de facto Ambassador to Taiwan, has always been the Department of State’s decision.

Bi-Partisan Support

The Taiwan Envoy Act (H.R.5535) that supports Senate confirmation on AIT Director has bi-partisan support from the House of Representatives. It was introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) with the original co-sponsor from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), then-Chairman of Asia Subcommittee in House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Lack of Congressional Oversight

Under the U.S. Constitution, it is the President’s duty to nominate, “by and with the advice of the Senate, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls.” Given that the AIT Director performs as an ambassador on behalf of the U.S., it is therefore necessary to have the checks and balances by the Congress on such appointment. The lack of Congressional involvement is not constitutionally reasonable and could potentially harm U.S. interests without proper oversight.

Failure to Recognize Taiwan’s Legitimacy

When the AIT Director is not required to be confirmed by the Senate, it implies that Taiwan’s legitimacy is not fully recognized. FAPA believes that a democracy with a government elected by the 23 million people of Taiwan should be treated fairly and normally, and should not be left out from the category of “sovereign nations.”

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