CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, the House will consider H. Con. Res. 40, Encouraging reunions of divided Korean American families, under suspension of the rules. H. Con. Res. 40 was introduced on April 21, 2015, by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and was referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent on April 23, 2015.
H.Con. Res. 40 is resolved that the Congress:
Since signing the armistice agreement on July 27, 1953, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remain divided at the 38th parallel north. As a signatory partner to the armistice, the United States also has a stake in maintaining peaceful relations on the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, the United States currently has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea and is home to more than 1,700,000 Americans of Korean descent.
Tragically, the initial division on the Korean Peninsula separated over 10,000,000 Korean family members, including many who are now American citizens. Since 2000, there are been 19 rounds of family reunions between South Koreans and North Koreans along the divided border. The United States maintains a strong interest in initiating family reunions between United States and South Korea and has signaled such interest in section 1265 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, which President George W. Bush signed into law on January 28, 2008.
The number of more than 100,000 estimated divided family members, last identified in 2001, has significantly dwindled as many pass away each year. Moreover, as the opportunity to reunite decreases with time, many Korean Americans are still waiting for a chance to meet their relatives in North Korea for the first time in over six decades. Because peace on the Korean Peninsula and stability for the larger region remain as long-term goals for both South Korea and the United States, enhancing the ability to reunite estranged Korean families would help further bolster this effort.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is not available at this time.
For questions or further information please contact John Wilson with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1811.