Reps. Bera and Chabot Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen U.S. Diplomacy and Aid for Indo-Pacific
Washington, DC, June 21, 2022
Representatives Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) and Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chair and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, yesterday introduced the Indo-Pacific Engagement Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen United States diplomatic and aid presence in the Indo-Pacific.
Despite the fact that the Indo-Pacific comprises nearly 60% of the world's population and is the heart of global trade, the FY23 regional foreign assistance request for the Indo-Pacific makes up approximately only 11% of the global total request.
The Indo-Pacific Engagement Act will direct the Assistant Secretaries for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department, along with the Assistant Administrator for the Asia Bureau at USAID, to provide an independent assessment of the resources they need to fulfill the Indo-Pacific Strategy.
"When it comes to advancing U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific, it's time that we match resources with rhetoric," said Representative Bera. "Despite previous and current Administrations recognizing the importance of the Indo-Pacific in U.S. national security, for decades we have routinely underinvested in both diplomatic and aid assistance, setting the stage for China to expand its influence and attempt to define the rules in the region. The Indo-Pacific Engagement Act will spur much-needed Congressional debate to address this resource imbalance. By drawing sustained attention to resourcing for the region, we can strengthen U.S. leadership in the region and truly advance a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific."
"The People's Republic of China's bid for hegemony in the Indo-Pacific is today's problem; not a problem for five or ten years down the road. That is why it is deeply frustrating that year after year administrations of both parties produce a budget that places the Indo-Pacific near the bottom of our national priorities. Meanwhile China continues to exploit our failure to properly prioritize the region. If we truly want to prioritize China and the Indo-Pacific, it's time for transformative change in our diplomatic and foreign assistance budgets. I am confident that the Indo-Pacific Engagement Act will go a long way to making that happen," said Representative Steve Chabot.