Today, the House of Representatives adopted a bipartisan amendment introduced by Representatives Connolly (VA), Granger (TX), Diaz-Balart (FL), Gingrey (GA), Sires (NJ) and Carter (TX) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that directs the President to sell sixty-six F-16 C/D aircraft to Taiwan.
Last Congress, 181 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Administration citing the "critical" need for the United States "to sell the government of Taiwan all the F-16 C/D [aircraft] it requires." The letter urged the Administration to "move quickly" on this matter and cited the statutory basis for such a sale--the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA). The House further exerted its will last year when it passed this same amendment by voice vote to the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.
Unfortunately, the Administration has announced it will sell only a retrofit package for Taiwan's older fight jets.
"Our bipartisan amendment is critical to America's strategic economic and defense partnerships with Taiwan, which is our 9th largest trading partner," Rep. Connolly said. "It will ensure Taiwan has the necessary tools to defend itself from regional threats, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979."
"Taiwan is a key strategic ally in the Pacific, and by selling this democratic nation 66 F-16s, we will ensure they have the defense capacity to protect their airspace. We must remain strong in our support for a democratic Taiwan and continually demonstrate that America will stand by our friends and allies -- regardless of where the threat originates," said Rep. Granger.
"The Taiwanese fighter fleet is over three decades old and is becoming more and more antiquated. With this amendment, we would be able to provide our allies with a better line of defense, while also creating American jobs building these fighter jets. As Co-chair of the Taiwan Caucus, I support the sale of the F-16 C/D aircraft that would not only allow them to better protect themselves, but will also boost our economy," stated Rep. Diaz-Balart.
"With the growing military gap and cyber security threat across the Taiwan Strait, it is of paramount importance that the United States sell Taiwan this aircraft. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has refused to do so, despite decades of previous U.S. support. This amendment embodies the spirit of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 in providing assistance to Taiwan for its own defense," said Rep. Gingrey.
"This amendment is critical in ensuring the long-term security of the people of Taiwan. As Taiwan's neighbors bolster their defense strategies, these aircrafts would be an important component for protecting the safety of the island," stated Rep. Sires.
"I applaud the House of Representatives for recognizing the need to pass this amendment in support of our partner, Taiwan. This amendment fulfills a promise we made to provide our democratic ally with F-16 aircrafts. These aircrafts are a critical tool for the protection of their democracy and defense from growing exterior threats," said Rep. Carter.