Earlier this year, Taiwan made a request to purchase 66 F-16 fighter jets from the U.S. to bolster its defense forces. This would be a benefit to both nations -- it would increase Taiwan's ability to defend itself while generating thousands of jobs here in the United States. But because of concern about the Chinese, in September, the Administration denied the sale and decided just to "upgrade' the F-16s Taiwan already had. This action means both countries miss an important opportunity.
As soon as the Administration made this decision, I took action and let you know about it. I introduced the Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act of 2011, which requires the Administration to fulfill our Pacific ally's request to sell them these 66 F-16s -- furnishing them with the military equipment they need to defend their homeland.
At a time when our unemployment rate continues to remain stuck at over nine percent, this deal alone would have created 16,000 jobs in the aerospace industry. Fort Worth would have benefitted with an estimated 4,300 annual jobs related to the F-16 program.
This was a lost opportunity and you can be sure I am working on setting things right. Yesterday, I was pleased that the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved my bill, sending it to the House floor for consideration sometime in the future. This bill received strong bipartisan support from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Senator Cornyn has introduced a companion bill in the Senate and it is my hope that this bill will soon become law. I will continue to update you on the progress of this legislation.