Once the Biden administration formalizes the notification, the Democratic chair and ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee will need to sign off on the sale before it can be finalized. The lawmakers are likely to approve the sale, but the process could drag out given the ongoing congressional recess.
Representatives for both committees did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fears have grown in recent years that China is positioning itself to take Taiwan by military force based on its belief that the island is part of China. In response, the U.S. and other Western nations have sought to bolster Taiwan’s defenses and praise its vibrant democracy, in stark contrast to Beijing’s authoritarianism.
The U.S. has maintained its adherence to the so-called One China policy outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which stipulates that the U.S. would not establish formal diplomatic relations with Taipei.
The TRA also created the “strategic ambiguity” doctrine whereby the U.S. remains purposely noncommittal about whether it would militarily defend Taiwan against an invasion. Lawmakers in both parties have pushed to scrap that policy as Taiwan faces increasingly belligerent threats and intimidation tactics from China’s military.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment.