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The US House of Representatives passed the “National Defense Authorization Act” to authorize 10 billion yuan in military aid to Taiwan and relax the ban on Chinese-made chips

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 on December 8. (Screenshot of the video of the academy)
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 on December 8. (Screenshot of the video of the academy)

CAPITOL HILL —The House of Representatives of the US Congress passed the final harmonized text of the defense spending bill for next year on Thursday (December 8). The bill focuses on providing more resources for the U.S. military while countering the challenges posed by China and Russia internationally. The bill will step up efforts to assist Taiwan in developing its military power over the next five years. At the same time, the bill eases proposals for the U.S. government and its contractors to use Chinese chips.

The House of Representatives voted 350 in favor and 80 against Wednesday to pass the final harmonized version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2023. The defense authorization bill costs nearly $858 billion, an increase of $45 billion over President Biden’s proposed budget and an $80 billion increase from the previous fiscal year’s authorization.

Since 1961, the National Defense Authorization Act has passed the U.S. Congress every year before the deadline, and members of both houses of both parties have actively maintained this practice. The bill would provide funding authority for the U.S. military and other key defense priorities, ensuring that the U.S. military has the training, equipment, and resources to perform its mission.

After the bill passes the House of Representatives, it must also obtain a vote in the Senate before it can be sent to the White House and signed by the president to take effect. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week. Lawmakers want to try to complete the legislative work before the Christmas recess.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Chuck Schumer, D-NY), speaking Thursday morning, called on lawmakers from both parties to support the annual defense spending bill.

“National defense authorization and national security are important, and I hope the senator will act soon,” Schumer said, “and we need to make sure the entire government is prepared to compete with China, including the Department of Defense and all government departments; We need funding to assist Ukraine’s efforts; We need funding for new commitments from our friends in Taiwan. ”

The National Defense Authorization Act for the new fiscal year plans to provide more than $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine to help it resist the Russian invasion. That’s $500 million more than the amount previously proposed by the Biden administration earlier this year.

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The bill would also inject $11.5 billion into the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to strengthen the program’s operations and enhance U.S. military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific.

Military aid to Taiwan has been increased to 10 billion

It is worth noting that the National Defense Authorization Act for the new fiscal year covers the rare and large length of content related to assisting Taiwan in developing military defense capabilities.

The bill incorporates Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senb Menendez. Bob Menendez, D-NJ) proposed the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act (TERA). The core content of the bill is based on the provisions of the Taiwan Policy Act, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Taiwan’s security and defense. The Taiwan Policy Act was written by Menendez and Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham, R-SC) was introduced bipartisanly in June and passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September.

The Taiwan Resilience Enhancement Act in the National Defense Authorization Act would significantly strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan defense partnership by developing a specific defense modernization plan for Taiwan for the first time. If the secretary of state verifies that Taiwan increases its own defense budget, the bill would authorize the United States to provide up to $2 billion a year in military financial assistance to Taiwan from 2023 to 2027, for a total of up to $10 billion over five years.

The bill would also include a new “foreign military financing loan” guarantee authorization and other measures to speed up Taiwan’s arms purchases and develop training programs to improve Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

“This National Defense Authorization Act is one of the most important bills in years, not only for our military support but also to prepare for real deterrence by implementing a more resilient strategy toward Taiwan if China continues to pursue conflict and move toward war,” Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that introduced the Strengthening Taiwan Resilience Act, said in a written statement Wednesday.

“The PRC’s rapidly growing military capabilities, including new technologies and weapons, that can be used against Taiwan, and its continued aggressiveness and bullying in the Taiwan Strait, information space, and economic domains undermine the status quo and contribute to instability in the Indo-Pacific,” Menendez continued. The China challenge has become the most significant national security issue facing our generation. ”

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According to the content, the bill will direct the executive branch to strengthen, develop and report on Taiwan’s defense and resilience, including the development of a comprehensive training program to strengthen Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

The bill authorizes the U.S. president to establish a “regional contingency stockpile” for Taiwan, including ammunition and other appropriate preparedness items. The bill would authorize $1 billion a year in U.S. military stockpile equipment.

The bill’s sense of Congress section mentions that Congress considers joint military exercises with Taiwan to be an important part of improving readiness.

The bill also calls for a whole-of-government strategy to counter China’s influence and economic coercion against Taiwan and other countries that support it.

Rep. Rep. Rep. Smith, chief Republican on the Asia-Pacific panel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Steve Chabot, R-OH) said in an interview with the Media Wednesday that the National Defense Authorization Act’s support for strengthening Taiwan’s defense sends a clear signal to Beijing.

“I think the most important thing that continues to be that China has to understand that if they take military action against Taiwan, the U.S. will be there,” Chabert said, “and that’s why I always think our policy should be strategic clarity, not strategic ambiguity.” ”

Charbert, who was not re-elected in last month’s midterm elections, is the co-chair of the Taiwan Connection of the House of Representatives, has introduced and supported a number of Taiwan-related bills in Congress for many years, and has vigorously advocated for Taiwan.

However, the National Defense Authorization Act is responsible for establishing defense spending authorization programs, and the final amount of appropriation is legislated by the Appropriations Committee of Congress. According to a December 1 report by Defense News, some Democratic lawmakers on the appropriations committee expressed concern about providing Taiwan with such a high amount of military aid. As a result, Congress is still discussing with the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the White House how to assist Taiwan in improving its defense capabilities.

In response, Chabert stressed that he understands that some lawmakers have different perspectives and considerations, but “it is important that Taiwan is adequately funded in the National Defense Authorization Act.” ”

“I’ve always believed that the priority is to make sure Taiwan can withstand any aggressive behavior from China, and I think that’s more important this year than usual,” Mr. Chabert told the Media.

NDAA final text eases ban on Chinese chips

In terms of restricting China’s advanced technology, the harmonized version of the new National Defense Authorization Law weakens the provisions originally proposed by lawmakers to ban the use of certain Chinese-made chips. The language in the new version of the law no longer explicitly prohibits federal government contractors from using chips made by certain Chinese companies, and delays compliance from the original two-year implementation period to five years.

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In September, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican members of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Cornyn. John Cornyn, R-TX) co-sponsored a bill to ban the U.S. federal government and its contract contractors from using semiconductor products made by SMIC, YMTC, and CXMT.

Lawmakers have spent more than a month hoping to include the proposal in the final, coordinated version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act that Congress must pass and to work to garner bipartisan support. Still, the proposal sparked a backlash from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups. They say determining whether chips in a large number of electronics are made by these Chinese companies will be a costly and difficult challenge.

According to Reuters on the 6th, a spokesman for Senator Koning’s office responded to the bill to relax the ban on chips made in China, saying that the purpose of the bill extending the grace period is to connect with the content of the CHIPS Act. The CHIPS and Science Act, passed by Congress earlier this year, provided $52 billion to subsidize U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.

“These funds will put [semiconductor] manufacturing on track for the United States and its Western allies and replace those made by Chinese companies,” the spokesman said.

In an interview with the Media last week, Senator Cornyn of Texas responded to the National Defense Authorization Act that China is on a rapid development path and that its goal is to “dominate the global economic system.”

“Our response is too slow, and we’re trying to catch up because we can’t let China dominate the world economy,” Cornyn said, “and I repeat, dictators don’t play by the rules that the rest of the world follows, so we see Chinese mainland continue to insist on their approach in a very aggressive and ferocious way, we will also see freedom and loss and loss of prosperity.” ”

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