Sullivan Talks Taiwan Visit, Infrastructure Negotiations on Fox Business
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) spoke with Maria Bartiromo this week on Fox Business Network about stalled infrastructure negotiations between President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans, and the senator and two of his Senate colleagues’ recent visit to South Korea and Taiwan in which the delegation announced the allocation of 750,000 American vaccines for the people of Taiwan.
BARTIROMO: Joining me right now is Alaska senator, a member of the Senate Armed Services, and Commerce, Science, Transportation Committees--Dan Sullivan. Sir, it’s great to have you this morning. Thank you so much for joining us. I guess I want to start –
SULLIVAN: Good morning, Maria. Great to be on the show. Thanks.
BARTIROMO: I want to hear all about your trip -- I’m so happy you’re here. We’ve been talking about your trip to Taiwan now for two weeks. I want to hear all about the trip.
But first, walk us through this spending plan. Is the president going to be able to get these pie-in-the-sky dreams through, much higher taxes, massive spending? Will he be able to get it through reconciliation? We know that Joe Manchin is not on board for H.R. 1 and not on board for removing the filibuster. Will he be on board to get this through reconciliation here?
SULLIVAN: Look, I think that’s the huge question. I have my doubts. And it’s because of the way you described the infrastructure bill. You know, there was a development a couple weeks ago. I also sit on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Two weeks ago we passed out of that committee a five-year highway bill, very significant infrastructure. And there’s a lesson there, Maria, which is if you focus on infrastructure, traditional infrastructure -- roads, bridges, ports -- which is what our bill did, we had 21 senators agree to that bill.
It also had permitting reform which I’m a huge passionate advocate for because, as you know, you could do $10 trillion in infrastructure. If you don’t have efficient, timely permitting, you’re not going to get anything done in this country.
So I think that’s a lesson. We need to stay focused on those areas in terms of infrastructure, not big pie-in-the-sky Green New Deal ideas that the Democrats are trying to shove in there. I have my doubts that even Democratic senators will support that.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I mean, is he bluffing to say, look, I’m walking away at this point? And I’m glad you mentioned the permitting. Everybody knows that’s the big issue here. Nobody’s going to invest in transportation and infrastructure if they think they’re not going to see a return for 20 years, right?
I mean, Jamie Dimon had a story at one point that it took him 13 years to see the bridge that he was investing in actually get built. He walked away.
SULLIVAN: And that’s another big issue. If you bring the permitting timelines down to two to three years -- you know this -- you will bring huge private sector capital off the sidelines to increase infrastructure spending that’s not even the federal government spending.
I think the permitting issues are critical. When you talk to governors, when you talk to mayors, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, they’re all in on efficient, timely permitting. We’ve been pressing -- I’ve been pressing president and his team on this. I think that’s one of the keys to unlocking this infrastructure challenge.
BARTIROMO: Yes. I don’t know how you walk away from a $1 trillion deal on hard infrastructure. I mean, come on, man. You got $1 trillion to put to roads, bridges and -- you know, do it.
All right. Real quick, I’ve got to get to your trip. You were one of three senators who traveled to Taiwan over the weekend to underscore American support for Taiwan. The U.S. is also sending Taiwan 750,000 vaccine dosages.
Senator, what can you tell us about the trip? What struck you most?
SULLIVAN: The Chinese Communist Party obviously didn’t like it. They did two editorials in The Global Times. They called it a vile provocation. So form my perspective, that meant it was probably a really important and successful trip.
But I think one thing that’s important to underscore, Maria, we went right after Memorial Day. And it is not an exaggeration to say countries like Taiwan, South Korea where we also visited -- they literally wouldn’t exist, these prosperous, dynamic democracies, without the service and sacrifice of tens of thousands of Americans.
Every American citizen when you go to these kind of countries, you can take pride in that. So that’s number one.
But the other thing is, we were focused in a lot of ways on vaccine diplomacy and it’s a huge contrast that we are underscoring with regard to what happened last year. The Chinese Communist Party essentially sickened the world with the pandemic and it was characterized by a lack of transparency, a lack of cooperation with any other countries.
And by contrast, America right now is leading through our innovation. We came up with -- in the Operation Warp Speed initiative that congress and the Trump administration put together -- we came up with a vaccine in record time and now we are working with our partners in an open way to help heal the world.
The contrast couldn’t be more dramatic and I think it was an important trip in that regard. Also to just show our bedrock support for Taiwan’s democracy and security.
BARTIROMO: It was a really important trip, senator. A lot of us are grateful that you made the trip. We know that China is making no secret of the fact that it wants reunification with Taiwan and we’re all wondering if it’s going to invade Taiwan.
We all remember that idiotic apology from actor John Cena. e calls Taiwan a country and then he comes up with this whole speech and apology to the CCP and he says it in Mandarin. I mean, wow. Don’t even get me started about that.
But here’s your colleague, Senator Cotton. He says, “Make China pay for COVID now by revoking Most Favored Nation status.” Are you in on something like that? Because you just said it sickened the world.
SULLIVAN: It did sicken the world and we’re healing the world. Many years ago, you might remember, in 1995 and ‘96, Maria, when the Chinese Communist Party threatened Taiwan with an invasion, they shot missiles over Taiwan during their first presidential election.
I was a young Marine infantry officer deployed out to the Taiwan Strait during that crisis and that was a commitment of American resolve and a commitment to Taiwan’s security. I think we need to continue to do that and as Senator Cotton mentioned, we need to get to the bottom of what happened with regard to the pandemic last year.
It’s increasingly looking like this came out of the lab, but the contrast between what we are doing now, the United States leading the effort in healing the world with our innovation, working with our partners, even as the Chinese still send out their junk vaccine to poor countries with strings attached. It’s an important contrast and I think countries in the region are noticing and it’s good for American diplomacy and leadership.
BARTIROMO: Well, thank you for your leadership and your service to our great country. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
Bottom line, Senator, if the CCP invaded Taiwan, would the U.S. support Taiwan?
SULLIVAN: Well, you know, our relationship with Taiwan is ruled by the Taiwan Relations Act. That was the Senate in 1979, taking charge of the relationship and that act commits the United States to making sure [Taiwan] has the capacity to defend itself and we’re going to continue to do that.
BARTIROMO: All right. Senator, great to see you. We will continue to follow your endeavors.
SULLIVAN: Thanks, Maria.
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