Senate Takes Up Defense Bill with Romney Measures to Counter China’s Abuses, Support Afghan Partners & Bolster Hill Air Force Base

WASHINGTON—The Senate this week is considering the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 with key amendments offered by U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) to counter China’s aggression and human rights abuses—including a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics—support our Afghan partners following the United States’ disastrous withdrawal, and bolster Utah’s Hill Air Force Base in its work to support our national security.

“We must take decisive action to confront China’s growing aggression and dissuade them from pursuing a predatory path around the world,” Senator Romney said. “The amendments I have offered to this year’s defense bill would require the United States to develop a unified, strategic approach to China and condemn their ongoing human rights abuses, while continuing to strengthen relationships with our allies and partners around the world.”

“It is unacceptable for China to have the honor of hosting the Olympics while the Chinese Communist Party commits genocide against the Uyghur people,” Romney continued.I have offered a measure that would implement a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games—which are set to commence in less than three months—to send a strong message to the Chinese Communist Party while safeguarding the dreams and hard work of U.S. athletes.”

“The withdrawal from Afghanistan was nothing short of a humanitarian and foreign policy disaster, and we must continue to prioritize our Afghan friends and partners who aided evacuation efforts and supported the U.S. mission in Afghanistan,” Romney continued. “I am also offering measures to support the role Utah plays in U.S. national security—including the central role Hill Air Force Base plays in bolstering the U.S. nuclear deterrent.”

Summary of Romney Amendments:

  • Diplomatic Boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics: Mandates a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing human rights abuses, including the Uyghur genocide. (Cosponsored by Senators Kaine, Young, and Markey)
  • U.S. Grand Strategy with Respect to China: Requires the President to develop a grand strategy to address the new era of geostrategic and geoeconomic competition with China. Convenes an advisory board of outside experts from the private sector, academia, and think tanks to review the current strategy, including challenging its assumptions and approach, and make recommendations to the President for the strategy. (Cosponsored by Senator Menendez)
  • Taiwan Defense Capabilities: Assesses ways for the U.S. to enhance Taiwan’s asymmetric defense capabilities and uses that assessment to develop a strategy to commence negotiations to increase sales of asymmetric defense capabilities to Taiwan. (Cosponsored by Senator Kelly)
  • Commending U.S. Friends and Allies for Their Response to the Afghanistan Tragedy: Commends U.S. friends and allies for aiding in the Afghanistan evacuation efforts and supporting U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents of the United States, and vulnerable Afghans.  (Cosponsored by Senator Shaheen)
  • Rare Earth Minerals Report: Requires a report on the domestic processing of rare earth minerals and the authorities and funding necessary to achieve supply chain independence for the U.S. military and our allies and partners from China’s growing control of the market.
  • Review of Passport Service Accessibility: Requires the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to improve access to timely passport services for all eligible Americans, including Utahns.

Summary of Amendments Cosponsored by Romney:

  • Supporting Vulnerable Afghans Who Worked with the U.S.: Expands Special Immigrant Visa eligibility for Afghans who were employed in Afghanistan through U.S. government-funded programs and grants.
  • Department of Defense Hiring Waiver: Provides enhanced hiring authority for the Department of Defense to appoint retired members of the Armed Forces in order to fill vital national security positions. Senators Romney and Lankford previously introduced legislation to repeal the 180-day waiting period that a military retiree must wait until he or she can enter a civilian job at DoD.
  • Maintaining U.S. Nuclear Forces: Defends the nuclear stockpile and strategic delivery systems necessary to deter adversaries engaged in nuclear buildups and modernizations.
  • Global War on Terrorism Memorial: Authorizes a memorial on the National Mall to commemorate and honor all servicemembers in the Global War on Terrorism.
  • State Funeral for Last WWII Medal of Honor Recipient: Authorizes a state funeral in the Capitol Rotunda for the last Medal of Honor recipient of World War II and honors the millions of Americans who served in the War.