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Reauthorizing Radio Free Asia

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of H.R. 3593. I want to thank my good friend from California (Mr. Royce), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, for introducing this measure.

Thirteen years ago next week, on September 29, 1996, Radio Free Asia first went on the air with a Mandarin language broadcast into China. Today, RFA broadcasts into China, Tibet, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma in nine local languages and dialects. It provides timely, objective news to people who are denied the benefit of a free press in their own homeland.

Not only did Congress create and fund that surrogate broadcasting service, we also urged RFA to increase its transmissions to particularly vulnerable populations, such as the people of North Korea, as we did in the North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004 and last year's reauthorization of that law. We are proud and supportive of the good work that Radio Free Asia continues to do.

While the authorization of appropriations for RFA was previously extended, it appears that the statutory section detailing RFA's grant-making authority was inadvertently omitted from that reauthorization, leaving it to expire at the end of this month. Therefore, we have this one-sentence bill before us today to correct that oversight. In the time when we see bills of over 1,000 pages in length which many have not read, it is wonderful to see a very simple bill, a brief bill, but a very important bill.

Both Republican and Democrat versions of The Foreign Relations Authorization Act introduced in this Congress include a provision that would remove the sunset of RFA authority, making it permanent. I look forward to working toward a long-term reauthorization of the RFA on a bipartisan basis during the year ahead. I urge support for this measure.

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the author of this legislation and the individual behind the United States' international broadcasting of Radio Free Asia, Mr. Royce of California.

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