Indo-Pacific Spending Bill Puts $8 Billion Toward Countering Communist China

‘It’s no secret Communist China is eyeing an invasion of Taiwan, and [Chinese leader] Xi is watching the United States closely,’ said Rep. Bob Latta.

President Joe Biden has signed into law a security funding package this week that will deliver more than $8 billion to counter Chinese communist influence in the Indo-Pacific.

The Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed by the House as part of a $95 billion foreign aid package, was first suggested by President Biden in October last year.

The bill’s funding priorities can roughly be divided into four categories: shipbuilding and submarine infrastructure, defense operations and maintenance, procurement, and foreign military assistance.

In all, the bill allocates $3.3 billion to develop submarine infrastructure, $2 billion in foreign military financing for Taiwan and other key allies, and $1.9 billion to replenish defense items and services provided to Taiwan and regional partners.

The bill’s passage comes amid increasing aggression by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the region and as the world braces for a potential CCP invasion of democratically-governed Taiwan in the coming years.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), who supported the bill, said the CCP and its leader, Xi Jinping, needed to be confronted and that the bill would help the United States to better deter future aggression by the regime in the theater.

“It’s no secret Communist China is eyeing an invasion of Taiwan, and [Chinese leader] Xi is watching the United States closely,” Mr. Latta told The Epoch Times in an email.

“I believe it is imperative for the United States to provide lethal aid—not blank checks—to support our allies against unprovoked attacks from our foreign adversaries while taking care of the problems we face here at home.”The bill, which passed the House by a 385 to 34 vote, is being hailed by many in Congress as a means of pushing back on creeping authoritarianism and bolstering the defense of Taiwan and other U.S. partners and allies.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who introduced the supplemental, said that the supplemental funding would help to defend democratic nations throughout the Indo-Pacific.

“These measures protect our friends and partners, bolster American defense, and support the security of the free world,” Mr. Cole said in a prepared statement.

“This House just showed tyrants and despots who wish harm upon us and our allies that we will not waver as the beacon of leadership and liberty.”

To that end, about half the bill’s funding is dedicated either to defending Taiwan from emerging threats or to building out the United States’s submarine manufacturing base, including by building new Columbia- and Virginia-class submarines.

The Columbia-class submarines are the next generation of nuclear-powered submarines and are slated to enter service in 2031. Virginia-class submarines, meanwhile, are a central part of the AUKUS agreement, through which the United States has agreed to sell Australia three nuclear-powered but conventionally armed submarines. The AUKUS is a security partnership in the Indo-Pacific between Australia, the UK, and the United States.

Notably, the bill also grants the Department of State some $2 billion in foreign military financing, which can help increase the self-defense capabilities of regional partners like Taiwan.

The $2 billion supplemental will be used to provide grants and loans to help countries purchase weapons and defense equipment produced in the United States and acquire defense services and military training from the United States, which the Biden administration has previously characterized as a boon for the economy.

Notably, some $1.9 billion of the supplemental is dedicated to Taiwan’s contingency funding. That amount will remain available until Sept. 30, 2025, and will allow the Department of Defense “to respond to the situation in Taiwan,” including by transferring weapons systems and other “defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense” to the island country.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) supported the bill, saying that the House had greatly improved upon the Senate’s original supplemental request for Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific.

“What we’ve done is taken the Senate supplemental bill, and we’ve improved the process and the policy, and that’s a really important thing,” Mr. Johnson said in a prepared statement.


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