House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accomplished just about nothing since Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives last November.
In recent months, Pelosi and her radical allies have only been focused on impeaching President Donald Trump over his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president.
But this week, something very rare happened: Democrats and Republicans actually came together and passed a measure that will do something positive.
The Uygur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act — which was introduced by Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio — passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate and was approved 407-1 in the House.
Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie was the only lawmaker who voted against the measure.
He was the lone no vote on the bill.
Massie was also the only House member to vote against the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in November. https://t.co/hxWe58Xkwa
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) December 4, 2019
The strongly worded bill paves the way for sanctions against Chinese officials over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Here’s more from the South China Morning Post on the bill:
The UIGHUR Act commands the U.S. administration to identify and sanction officials deemed responsible for their involvement in the mass internment of members of ethnic minority groups in the country’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
The bill would also tighten export controls on China-bound U.S. technology that could be used to “suppress individual privacy, freedom of movement and other basic human rights.”
Since early 2017, the Chinese government is reported to have sent some one million Uygurs and members of other largely Muslim ethnic minority groups to mass internment camps, where inmates are forcibly held and subject to political indoctrination.
Beijing claims that the facilities are “vocational training centres” and says they are a legitimate response to the threat of religious extremism.
The legislation passed on Tuesday was a significantly revamped version of a bill – the Uygur Human Rights Policy Act – that Senators had approved in the upper chamber of Congress in September.
Beijing has responded by vowing retaliation by considering restricting the visas of U.S. officials and lawmakers who have had an “odious performance on [the] Xinjiang issue.”
Beijing says they are also considering banning all U.S. diplomatic passport holders from entering Xinjiang.
Rubio’s bill passed in the Senate called for the U.S. State Department to appoint a “special coordinator” for Xinjiang and appealed to the administration to “consider the applicability” of sanctioning authorities.
The bill passed by the House on Tuesday changed that language and requires the U.S. president, within four months of the legislation’s enactment, to submit to Congress a list of Chinese officials deemed responsible for, or complicit in, human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
While Democrats in Congress haven’t accomplished much of anything, it’s certainly nice to see that both sides of the political aisle came come together — even if it’s only once every so often — to pass something that’s positive and meaningful.