The following is a transcript of an interview with Rep. Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York, on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, August 7, 2022.
Margaret Brennan: Last week, China launched its most high-profile military exercise off the coast of Taiwan for four days in response to Speaker Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island led by a congressional delegation. Military display.
Margaret Brennan: Rep. Gregory Meeks, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is joining us now. Good morning, Congressman.
On behalf of GREGORY MEEKS: Good morning. Nice to be with you.
Margaret Brennan: Well, you’ve been traveling the globe, but I think you’ll be back in Washington soon to vote on this huge spending bill. It may have been a huge victory, but it was one-tenth of what the president had originally asked for. What’s to come and will the drop in gasoline prices be enough to help Democrats win in November?
represent. Meeks: No doubt. This is a big and important bill. It reduces inflation. It ensures that we can now lower drug prices. It helps fight climate change. And – we’ll move on. It’s a bipartisan victory during this Congress, such as bipartisan victories in infrastructure, gun control, chip and science law, veterans’ pact bill, select committees, elections or appointments to the Supreme Court A black woman. So yes, that’s the icing on the cake for advancing the Democratic Party in a bipartisan way this election year.
Margaret Brennan: But despite all that you just listed, I know you know that many polls, including from CBS, predict that Republicans will win a majority in the House. Can you reverse it?
represent. Meeks: Oh, of course. I think as we go into the key September and October conversation, look, our unemployment rate is at an all-time low. We see a retrograde court. And trying to take away women’s right to choose, we’re fighting and supporting that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: During your trip to Taiwan, we saw these dramatic Chinese war games. In response to this visit, China severed some diplomatic relations with the United States in protest of your trip to Taipei with Speaker Pelosi. Did the visit backfire by undermining some of the Biden administration’s priorities?
represent. Meeks: Not at all, you know, the obvious presence of a Biden administration there, and by increasing economic ties there, shows that the region is very important. As a private preferred member of the Senate, President Biden understands the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. So what we have to do at this time, because obviously, obviously, this is a tense time in the Taiwan Strait, and that’s why it’s very important for all parties to respect the status quo, what we did when we were there, and not resort to force or change things. Equally important is the United States, which has doubled our economic, cultural, and security cooperation with Taiwan in the face of Beijing’s aggression. So it was a very appropriate trip for the region at the time. I think when we talk to Taiwanese, they appreciate that we are there. You should see more than 250,000 Taiwanese following our flight, and on the biggest building in Taiwan, a big sign says We Love You Nancy Pelosi—
Margaret Brennan: Hmm-hmm.
represent. Meeks: People on both sides of the street as we drove to the hotel. Apparently Taiwanese are happy–
Margaret Brennan: Without a doubt.
represent. Meeks: Let me tell you. We — all our allies, all our partners and friends in the region, and other countries we’ve visited — are very happy to be there.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But Beijing is — Beijing is angry. They cut off climate change talks with the US, they cut off other cooperation. In fact, Beijing said it was an issue where the United States and China, two of the world’s most powerful countries, could clash with Beijing, calling the visit of the third-highest U.S. government official on a military plane a “provocation,” sending a message that the United States stands A strong signal from the Taiwan side. Is the US on Taiwan’s side?
represent. Meeks: We didn’t do anything — if you look at the provocation, the people who fired missiles over Taiwan and China to surround the island were actually Beijing. This is not surprising, this year’s congressmen have been to Taiwan before. I have been to Taiwan many times and I have been to China. But we won’t allow it, and Speaker Pelosi is absolutely right about that, let President Xi dictate where we should or shouldn’t go, and we’ll stand by our friends, our partners, our allies. Obviously Taiwan is one of them. So provocative — provocative is not us. the Beijing government. We just won’t allow that to happen.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it’s a strategic ambiguity as far as this policy has been for decades, the U.S. sells arms to Taiwan without committing to actually defending it. do you need to change it? Does Congress need to prepare for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan?
represent. Meeks: Look, what we’ve done, I think we’ve shown what we’re going to do is give and we’ve given Taiwan a defensive weapon in that policy. Ultimately, it should be up to whoever sits down, not China, not Beijing, and not Xi Jinping, to continue his provocative actions. It was his act of provocation that tried to—
Margaret Brennan: Right.
represent. MEEKS: – Change the status quo. What we need at this point is the status quo, which is the best way to defuse tensions, not provocations from Beijing.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Meeks, thank you for your time this morning. We’ll be right back.