Levin Appointed Vice Chair of Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation

February 11, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after being appointed Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation:

“I am thrilled and humbled by this appointment. As Vice Chair, I will continue my decades of work in support of human rights for all and ensure our subcommittee shines a light on issues that impact not just this region, but the American people. It was, after all, this subcommittee that held the first hearing on the coronavirus in early 2020 while Americans were desperate for answers from the Trump administration on the threat before us.

“So much of my education and life’s work as a human rights advocate has centered on this part of the world. I fell in love with Asian religions in high school, and I first traveled to Asia when I was 17, observing development projects in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia, and visiting Thailand. As a religion major in college, I focused on the Buddhist philosophy of India and Tibet and spent a year living in India and studying at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies. These were formative experiences for me, and they continue to animate both my fierce advocacy for the Tibetan people and my commitment to protecting India’s secular democracy, so important to many in the Indian-American community of Metro Detroit.

“I later traveled to Hong Kong and China during the summer of 1989 and published photographs and writings about my eyewitness observations of the Chinese crackdown on dissent in Chengdu during the Tiananmen Massacre. I saw the brutality with my own eyes and those memories inspire me to fight for human rights in China still today, and they were with me as I fought for justice alongside my colleagues following the violent insurrection of January 6.

“Now, more than 30 years later, it is my honor to represent Michigan’s 9th District in Congress and to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. My very first trip abroad as a member of Congress was to Bangladesh in the fall of 2019, where I saw first-hand how U.S. foreign assistance is providing support for the most vulnerable, including women, children and Rohingya refugees. That trip has informed greatly my work in Congress—especially my work as a member of this subcommittee and my connection with the Bangladeshi-American community in Macomb County.

“The nonproliferation component is also an issue of great importance for many of my constituents. I first became active in the movement to avoid nuclear war in 1981, when I served as a peacekeeper trainer for the historic demonstrations at the Rocky Flat nuclear weapons plant between Boulder and Denver, Colorado. I strongly opposed the Trump administration’s decision to remove the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and will work to see the United States find a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program. I am greatly encouraged by President Biden’s efforts to save the New START treaty with Russia, and I will be a willing partner with the Biden administration in efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.

“I look forward to supporting Chairman Bera, Chairman Meeks and President Biden as they work to reestablish America as a leader on the world stage, I feel privileged to have this opportunity and look forward to getting started on the urgent work ahead.”