House lawmakers are calling for legislation that would allow a faster US military response should China invade Taiwan

In this July 15, 2021 photo, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., left, speaks with a naval officer after a ceremony marking the full operation of NATO’s Joint Force Command aboard USS Kearsarge at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia At a Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 12, Luria Marked called for new laws that would allow the U.S. to respond more quickly should China invade Taiwan. (Steve Helber/AP)

WASHINGTON — The vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday that new legislation is needed to allow the U.S. to respond more quickly should China invade Taiwan.

President Joe Biden “does not have the authority [under the law] to actually respond,” said Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.

“If China were to invade Taiwan today, the president would have to come to Congress to get authorization to respond,” the 20-year Navy veteran said while speaking at the Surface Navy Association Symposium in Arlington, Virginia. spoke. “We can’t lose [the] Months it would take for us to give an answer.”

The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 requires the president to obtain congressional approval before taking military action should China invade the Democratic island, Luria wrote in an October Washington Post editorial. The War Powers Act also prevents the president from taking such action, as it requires congressional approval to send military intervention abroad if the US, its territories or its armed forces are not under attack, she added.

Although the US recognizes that China claims sovereignty over Taiwan through Beijing’s one-China policy, it maintains unofficial ties with Taiwan, according to the State Department.

Luria isn’t the only one pushing for legislation that would give the president more authority in defending Taiwan. Congressional support for the island has increased in recent years as US competition with China increases.

For example, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act in February, allowing the president to deploy the military if China launches a direct attack on Taiwan, but the bill stayed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hang , according to congressional documents.

According to Navy leaders, a Chinese invasion is plausible in the coming years. Admiral Phil Davidson, the chief admiral in charge of the military’s Indo-Pacific Command, told Congress last year he believed China could attempt to take control of Taiwan by the end of the decade.

To address the threat, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., warned Navy leaders at the symposium not to lose sight of what the service needs in the immediate future while developing long-term technologies, such as . B. Unmanned ships projected for the fleet in decades.

“If Adm. Davidson is right that China could invade Taiwan within the next five years, it probably makes less sense to bet on tomorrow’s transformative technology than it is to bet on reliable technology that works today,” said Gallagher, a seven-year Marine Corps veteran served.

Luria also said she is skeptical about investing too much in technology development and that the Navy should not sacrifice the ships the service has today to make way for untried, unmanned ships planned for the future fleet are.

“Certainly we think we need to invest in developing technology… but that shouldn’t come at the expense of today’s fleet,” she said.

Gallagher called for “more conventional hard power” elements to deter enemies, such as “more ships, more long-range missiles”. [and] more long-range bombers in the Indo-Pacific.”

He said he feared too bright a future outlook would “reduce our ability to deny faits accomplis regarding Taiwan” if China were to invade in the near future.

“The good news is that we can prevent that… by just doing the hard work of building the combat force that’s ready by 2025, not 2045,” Gallagher said.

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Twitter: @CaitlinDoornbos

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Caitlin Doornbos

Caitlin Doornbos reports on the Pentagon for Stars and Stripes, having covered the Navy’s 7th Fleet as Stripes’ Indo-Pacific Correspondent at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. She previously worked as a crime reporter in Lawrence, Kan., and Orlando, Fla., where she was part of the Orlando Sentinel team, which was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. Caitlin holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas and a Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies from the University of Texas at El Paso.



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