WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded the passage of the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act and the Taiwan Assurance Act within Congress’ end-of-year omnibus package. Also included in the package is a Risch-led provision creating a sanctions coordinator at the U.S. Department of State.
“I am pleased that the bipartisan omnibus package passed today includes several Senate Foreign Relations Committee priorities, including legislation related to Belarus and Taiwan,” said Risch. “The violent and ongoing crackdown against peaceful citizens protesting Mr. Lukashenka’s dictatorial rule in Belarus is unconscionable. The legislation passed today reaffirms U.S. support for the Belarusian people and their desire for a more free and democratic future.”
“Taiwan is an important U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific and a model for democracy in Asia. The strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific and Taiwan’s role in the region have changed dramatically over the last several decades. The Taiwan Assurance Act helps pave the way for the United States to advance a relationship with Taiwan in light of today’s – not 1979’s – geopolitical situation.”
Also included in the omnibus package is a Risch-led provision that establishes a Senate-confirmed sanctions coordinator at the U.S. Department of State. The coordinator will report to the secretary and coordinate the development and implementation of sanctions policy both within State and in the inter-agency process. The new office will also be responsible for diplomatic engagement and coordination on sanctions matters and will promote partnerships with U.S. allies to ensure the maximum effectiveness of U.S. sanctions.
Text of the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act can be found in Title III, Subtitle C of the omnibus package. Text of the Taiwan Assurance Act can be found in Title III, Subtitle B. Text of the State sanctions coordinator provision can be found in Title III, Subtitle G.