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NATIONAL REVIEW: Lawmakers Question Seven-Month Delay of Uyghur Forced-Labor Legislation

The below article was published by The National Review, photo credit: Thomas Peters/Reuters

Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop delaying a House vote on legislation dealing with Beijing’s genocide of Uyghurs and crimes against humanity targeting other minority groups in a letter today:

We urge you to stop delaying floor consideration of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). As you know, the House bill passed the Foreign Affairs Committee on April 21, and the Senate bill was received in the House on July 16. Both passed without any opposition….

It was encouraging that bipartisan legislation to designate the CCP’s crimes against Uyghurs as genocide was included in this year’s NDAA via an amendment that passed with a voice vote. Doing so will bring the House into consensus with two successive United States administrations, as well as our parliamentary counterparts in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Czechia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Canada.

It is extremely concerning that no legislation imposing real world consequences in response to this genocide has received floor consideration this Congress. The backlog now includes multiple pieces of Committee-passed legislation, most significantly the [Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act].

This lengthy delay stands in contrast with the Democratic majority’s record on Uyghur issues under the prior administration. Last year, you put the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act up for a vote 12 days after it was received from the Senate. You also put the UFLPA on the floor without waiting for a Committee markup, where it passed with over 400 votes. Both the House and Senate measures would pass the House resoundingly, if put up for a vote.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would impose a near-ban on certain products coming from the Xinjiang region, under the presumption that they were produced using forced labor. While the bill would not by any means convince the Chinese Communist Party to end its campaign to destroy Uyghurs and other Turkic minority peoples, it would help prevent Americans from being complicit in the abuses.All Our Opinion in Your Inbox

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The same goes for a provision quietly stripped from the Build Back Better Act, the president’s $1.9 trillion social-spending package, which the House approved last week.

Democrats advanced the measure, which now awaits a vote in the Senate, following weeks of questions about the quiet removal of a prohibition on sending new science funding to Chinese companies designated as participating in the human-rights abuses under the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. Pelosi’s office has yet to say anything publicly about the matter and ignored National Review’s request for comment. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged when a reporter raised the issue earlier this month.

Psaki also said the administration is working with Congress to provide “technical assistance” for human-rights-focused legislation, though she declined to specify which bills she meant.

Condemning these atrocities is an area of broad bipartisan agreement, and if put up to a vote, the measures would, as the committee members wrote, win near-unanimous support.

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