On Wednesday, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) repeated a call for legislation that would give President Biden authorization to go to war with China in the event that Beijing invades Taiwan.
Even though a military confrontation between the US and China should be unthinkable since it could easily spiral into nuclear war, Luria thinks the US must intervene if China ever moves to take Taiwan by force.
Luria is unhappy that Biden “doesn’t have the authority [under the law] to actually respond” should China attack. “If China were to invade Taiwan today, the president would have to come to Congress for authorization to respond,” she said. “We can’t lose [the] months that it would take in order for us to provide a response.”
Luria, the vice-chair of the House Armed Services Committee, has made the case to give the president war powers for Taiwan before. In October, Luria penned an op-ed for The Washington Post titled “Congress must untie Biden’s hands on Taiwan.” Around the same time, Foreign Policy reported that centrist Democrats favored giving Biden authorization to fight China over Taiwan while progressive Democrats opposed the idea.
Luria’s Republican colleagues have already crafted legislation that would give Biden the war powers she wants. The Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which was introduced by House Republicans last year, would authorize “the President to use the Armed Forces to defend Taiwan against a direct attack by China’s military, a taking of Taiwan’s territory by China, or a threat that endangers the lives of civilians in Taiwan or members of Taiwan’s military.”
The legislation hasn’t gotten very far, and a new version of the bill would need to be introduced this year for it to advance. But the fact that giving Biden the power to go to war for Taiwan is becoming increasingly popular in Congress has grave implications.