Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) joined Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) in introducing the U.S.-Taiwan Public Health Protection Act to establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Representative Michael Waltz (R-Florida) are co-sponsors of the bill. Bill text may be found here.
“Taiwan’s response to the pandemic has been incredibly successful, and it is unacceptable that the Chinese government is excluding them from global efforts to combat infectious diseases,” said Cortez Masto. “This legislation will allow the U.S. to partner with Taiwan to safely monitor health threats and help prevent future pandemics.”
“For too long, the United States has been myopically focused on traditional national security issues and it has hurt our ability to promptly respond to new threats like the COVID-19 pandemic. We must learn from countries like Taiwan that grasped the dangers of this pandemic early on and had success in suppressing it,” said Khanna. “By establishing a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center, Congress can help prevent future pandemics and ensure important knowledge sharing can take place between the U.S. and Taiwan.”
“Beijing’s efforts to exclude Taiwan from the global health community have had deadly consequences. Our bill will ensure the United States has the resources it needs to monitor health threats emerging in the Indo-Pacific and will allow Taiwan to share its knowledge with the world,” said Cotton.
“We should not be surprised that the Chinese Communist Party’s genocidal regime has willingly withheld information on the COVID-19 pandemic, causing devastating effects around the world,” said Rubio. “We need a reliable and transparent partner in the Indo-Pacific that will provide us with accurate information in order to prevent and mitigate future health crises. Taipei has a comparative advantage in global health and is a trustworthy democratic ally and a valued friend. I am glad to support this effort, which will strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations and benefit global health.”
“Taiwan has been a global leader in monitoring infectious diseases and developed one of the most successful responses in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Waltz. “By establishing a joint disease monitoring center with Taiwan, we can safely monitor the impacts of infectious diseases, share best practices, and develop responses so we can effectively combat the next global pandemic.”
The bill is supported by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and Taiwan’s CDC.
The U.S.-Taiwan Public Health Protection Act would:
- Establish a U.S.-Taiwan Infectious Disease Monitoring Center within the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to partner with Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control.
- The center would monitor infectious diseases originating in the region, engage in people-to-people contacts with medical and health officials in the region, and provide expertise on health threats to the U.S. and Taiwanese governments.
- The center will be staffed by U.S. government detailees, including at least three Health and Human Services (HHS) infectious disease experts and at least one staffer from other federal departments, and may employ local Taiwanese staff and employees of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Require a one-year study and report to Congress to determine the Center’s funding and staffing needs and its level of cooperation with Taiwanese health authorities.