Representatives Denny Heck and Bradley Byrne Introduce the Congressional Singapore Caucus to the 114th Congress
In collaboration with the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence, today the bipartisan Congressional Singapore Caucus was re-launched, with new co-chairs, Congressman Denny Heck of Washington state and Congressman Bradley Byrne of Alabama. The goal of the Caucus will be to strengthen the political, military, and economic relationship between the two countries, and engage more Americans and policymakers on the promise of Singapore and Asia.
"I am proud to partner with my colleague Denny Heck to re-launch the Congressional Singapore Caucus," Byrne said. "Singapore and the United States have many important ties both economically and militarily. In my district, Singapore-based ST Aerospace is a great employer that provides over 1,000 jobs to hardworking men and women. As the United States continues to place a heavy focus on having a strong military presence in the Pacific, I am proud that Mobile-built Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will be stationed in Singapore. These are just a few examples of the strong ties between Singapore and the United States, and I know this Caucus will only further strengthen our partnership."
"I am pleased to bring back this partnership with such a strong, strategic friend in Asia," Heck said. "Singapore plays a major role in our global economy, and as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, I'm interested in learning more about how we can find new ways to expand into new markets, particularly Southeast Asia, one of most dynamic regions in the world. As the representative of Joint Base Lewis-McChord--which contributes forces to joint exercises with many regional militaries, including the Singapore Armed Forces--I'm also interested in exploring how the United States can continue to play a constructive role in maintaining stability in the region. This is an exciting time to come together and see what other mutually beneficial steps we can take for our countries."
Singapore's Ambassador to the United States Ashok Mirpuri said, "I deeply appreciate Congressmen Byrne's and Heck's efforts and would like to thank them for their leadership of the Caucus. The establishment of the Caucus for 114th Congress is a strong symbol of bipartisan support for Singapore-U.S. relations and is especially significant as Singapore commemorates our 50th year of independence in 2015 and 50 years of Singapore-U.S. bilateral relations next year in in 2016. I look forward to deeper ties and stronger connections between Singapore and the U.S."
The American government's renewed focus on Asia presents oversight and appropriations opportunities for Congress related to U.S. military, diplomatic, and economic policies, and for the role of Congress as a partner with the executive branch in the determination of U.S. strategy in the Pacific. Singapore and the United States trade $65 billion in bilateral goods and services. Singapore was a founding member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967 and remains a key partner with the United States in the East Asia Summit.
Joining Heck and Byrne are 20 members from both parties, including Reps. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), Peter King (R-N.Y.), John Larson (D-Conn.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Steve Russell (R-Okla.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) and Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).
The Congressional Singapore Caucus was first established in 2002. In the past, it has served as a platform to strengthen Singapore's strategic partnership with the United States and connected the country with various Congressional districts. The United States and Singapore concluded the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement in 2004, the first bilateral trade agreement between the United States and an Asian country.