On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, President Trump arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. The meeting followed the first summit between the two leaders, which had taken place in Singapore in June of 2018. While the June summit had produced only a set of vague ideas about denuclearization and other measures that could normalize relations between the two countries, there was still confidence and positivity surrounding the meeting in Hanoi. The following day, however, then-Press Secretary Sanders disclosed the summit was ending early, and it was clear there was no agreement for denuclearization (NY Times).
It was also clear that the United States and North Korea were not the only stakeholders. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has worked with the United Nations to “build a serious sanctions regime” against North Korea, and expressed support for President Trump’s “decision to end discussions over Pyongyang’s request for sanctions relief” (CFR). In South Korea, defense officials declared they would end major U.S.-South Korea large-scale joint exercises to help ease tensions with North Korea. Prior to both the June 2018 and February 2019 meetings with the United States, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with China’s President Xi Jinping, and Beijing has “urged world powers not to push Pyongyang too hard” with pressure to denuclearize (CFR).
The summit in Hanoi is only one example of how intertwined international peace, security, and economic interests are in Asia, and how countries’ actions can send ripples throughout the region and around the world. This brief explores the U.S. foreign policy in the Asia Pacific region. It will examine the economic, political, and security issues of the region, explore how these issues affect the U.S. and its citizens, discuss the role of the U.S. government, and finally outline reforms under consideration to address current challenges.
Why Policy in Asia Matters
The U.S. has a variety of interests at stake in the Asia Pacific region, with pressing diplomatic, national security and economic considerations, all against the backdrop of increased geopolitical volatility. The region was the subject of renewed policy interest under the Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot,” which some analysts praised for strengthening key alliances, and others criticized for its failure to deter China’s ascent in the Asia Pacific region.
As the current administration faces an openly antagonistic North Korea flaunting its nuclear arsenal — “the biggest threat to humankind right now,” according to one top U.S. diplomat — as well as an increasingly aggressive China, U.S. policy in the region and our relations with our Asian allies may be more crucial than ever.
Putting it in Context
Japan was a rising power in Asia during the early 1900s and rejected “western influence” during the world economic depression. Japan sided with Nazi Germany during WWII, and eventually coordinated the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. In 1945, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to Japanese surrender. From 1945 to 1952, the U.S. led the Allies in overseeing reconstruction and rehabilitation of Japan, which included implementing a new constitution. Japan signed a peace treaty with the U.S. in 1951, regained independence in 1952, and became a member of the United Nations in 1956. It is still one of the strongest allies of the U.S. today and is the 4th largest U.S. trading partner.
The entire Korean peninsula was one country for 1300 years until Japan annexed the peninsula in 1910. After Japan’s defeat in WWII, the U.S. and the Soviet Union oversaw Japan’s removal. Korea was split along the 38th parallel, with the U.S.-backed government in the south and the Soviet-backed government in the north. In 1948, UN forces rushed in when the Soviet-installed northern leader Kim Il Sung (grandfather of Kim Jong Un) invaded the south in 1950 and started the Korean War. The Korean War technically never ended; in 1953, both sides signed an armistice that kept the peninsula divided. Wary of future attacks, South Korea guaranteed its national security by signing the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1953 with the U.S., and in the 1980s the Soviet Union turned away from the north (CRS). Threatened by South Korea’s alliance with the U.S., North Korea embarked on a nuclear program that remains a point of contention today (NPR).
Opposing Communist and Nationalist forces competed for China during the first half of the twentieth century until Communist leader Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China in 1949. This forced the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, which had the support of the U.S. in WWII, to flee to Taiwan that year. China’s alliance with the Soviet Union began to deteriorate in the late 1960s (referred to as the “Sino-Soviet split”). For the next several decades, the U.S. and China saw improved diplomatic and trade relations: China was granted the UN Security Council seat that had been held by Chiang Kai-shek in 1971, President Carter gave China full diplomatic recognition in 1979, and President Clinton normalized trade relations in 2000, which allowed China to join the World Trade Organization in 2001. China became the largest U.S. foreign creditor in 2008 and the world’s second largest economy in 2010 (CFR).
U.S. relations with India have weathered multiple highs and lows since India declared independence from Britain in 1947. In the 1960s, the U.S. assisted India with education and agricultural initiatives, and strengthened strategic and military ties. However, India’s war with Pakistan in 1971 created tensions as India turned to the Soviet Union and refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act in 1978. Nuclear testing in 1998 sparked international concern and prompted the U.S. to recall the U.S. ambassador to India. Since 2005, India and the U.S. have cooperated on defense, nuclear, economic, and cybersecurity initiatives. In May 2019, the Trump Administration announced it would terminate India’s special trade status that had allowed it to export billions of dollars of its products to the U.S. without paying tariffs. India responded by announcing it would impose tariffs on U.S. products, but both sides are open to dialogue.
Southeast Asia (The Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia)
U.S. interest in Southeast Asia greatly increased in 1899 with the annexation of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. Japan, which wanted resources such as rubber and petroleum in what is today Indonesia, gained control of the region. Japan maintained control until the end of WWII, after which independence struggles and the Cold War took precedence. For the U.S., “efforts to prevent communist expansion in the region inhibited American support for decolonization and led to war in Vietnam and Laos and covert interventions elsewhere” (Oxford). Relations since the end of the Cold War in 1991 have normalized; the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations collectively make up the fourth largest export market for the U.S. China’s aggression in the South China Sea has prompted closer relations between the U.S. and Southeast Asian countries.
Australia and New Zealand
After World War II, Australia and New Zealand were concerned about the rise of communism in East Asia, and watched as they were excluded from NATO in 1949. However, the United States’ own concern over the rise of communism led to the tripartite security treaty with Australia and New Zealand in 1952. The treaty remains important to the U.S. relationship with Australia, and the two cooperate closely on defense initiatives in the Middle East and the South China Sea as well as on infrastructure projects and scientific activities. Bilateral economic investment between the two countries amounts to over $1 trillion. The U.S. suspended obligations to New Zealand under the treaty after New Zealand enacted a policy forbidding nuclear warships from its ports in 1980, but the two still reaffirm bilateral security, political, economic, and social ties; the U.S. is New Zealand’s second largest source of foreign investment and the two working together on research in Antarctica and the South Pole.
The Role of Government
Goals of U.S. Policy in Asia
The U.S.’s foreign policy objectives center around national security and diplomacy, economic interests, and human rights. The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy, released on December 18, 2017, places economic security and “prosperity at home” at the crux of national security and U.S. foreign policy.
National Security and Diplomacy
The broad objective of U.S. policy is to prevent a North Korean nuclear strike and deter North Korean aggression. Another goal is to mitigate China’s aggression towards its neighbors, especially Taiwan, Japan, and the Southeast Asian nations, and engage diplomatically with China in proactively limiting North Korea’s belligerence. As detailed in the New York Times op-ed, “The Price of War with North Korea,” longstanding U.S. allies Japan and South Korea would be the most vulnerable targets in a U.S.-North Korea nuclear confrontation.
Economic and Trade Interests
A particular concern for the U.S. is China’s aggressive attempts to expand its economic power and influence in the region and globally. A prime example is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, often called the New Silk Road, which “involves China underwriting billions of dollars of infrastructure investment” in European and African countries with the ultimate aim “to make Eurasia (dominated by China) an economic and trading area to rival the transatlantic one (dominated by America)” (The Economist, BBC). See more in this video.
Additionally, Made in China 2025 “seeks to make China dominant in global high-tech manufacturing” in sectors including electric vehicles, information technology and communications, and artificial intelligence. The combination of the two endeavors, if both successful, would make China an economic and technological powerhouse with networks it could control across much of the world.
If China has access to the critical infrastructure that many countries depend on, China will essentially be in control of any and all information in these systems. For example, China’s largest video surveillance company Hikvision says its equipment can track people “by their facial features, body characteristics or gait.” The U.S. has sought to limit the use of these products in America, but China is already exporting the technology to countries including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan and has even supplied products to the Beijing Olympics, the Brazilian World Cup and an airport in Milan, Italy. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained in an interview, the administration was concerned “‘that the Chinese are working to put their systems in networks all across the world so they can steal your information and my information.””
The U.S. aims to counter Chinese influence in the region while also maintaining mutually beneficial trade relations and shared security interests, such as enacting sanctions against North Korea. The U.S. and China are currently engaged in bilateral trade negotiations that have resulted in a series of tariffs imposed by both sides. For more on tariffs, see this post from The Policy Circle.
Universal Human Rights
As the U.S. State Department says, “The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises.” The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy continues this legacy: “We are under no obligation to offer the benefits of our free and prosperous community to repressive regimes and human rights abusers. We may use diplomacy, sanctions, and other tools to isolate states and leaders who threaten our interests and whose actions run contrary to our values.”
Current Challenges and Areas for Reform
U.S. allies offer unique opportunities for cooperation as the U.S. pursues its policy objectives in that region.
South Korea is one of the U.S.’s most important allies in the Asia Pacific region, especially in terms of working to contain a nuclear North Korea. The alliance serves “to deter another North Korean attack on South Korea,” and also provides “a continental base for U.S. forces to face China and Russia and to provide a front-line defense for Japan” (Brookings). The U.S. includes South Korea in the “nuclear umbrella,” a policy of extended deterrence in which the U.S. promises to use its nuclear weapons to protect allies. The U.S. has over 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, and the two countries hold joint military exercises and training.
Japan’s alliance with the U.S. is considered “one of the region’s most important military relationships” and “an anchor of the U.S. security role in Asia” (CFR). About 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan. This relationship has assumed heightened importance in recent years in light of China’s increased aggression — particularly its maritime activities in disputed territories — and North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests (CRS).
U.S. ties with India are also assuming a greater significance in the face of China’s expansion. Starting in 2017, India along with Japan agreed “to deepen defense ties and push for more cooperation with Australia and the United States, as they seek to counter growing Chinese influence across Asia.” The U.S., India, and Japan have also signed infrastructure deals to attempt to counter China’s growing geopolitical and economic influence with its Belt and Road Initiative.
In Southeast Asia, China’s aggression in the South China Sea has antagonized Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, which all claim zones in the sea. The U.S. supports these claimant countries’ freedom of navigation based on the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. The U.S. has increased its military and naval activity in the region, including freedom of navigation operations, with defense allies including Australia.
Along with Britain, Canada, and the U.S., Australia and New Zealand are also two members of the Five Eyes Alliance, an intelligence-sharing network focusing on “exchanging classified information on China’s foreign activities.”
North Korea and China represent the two most significant challenges both to U.S. interests in the Asia Pacific region as well as to the homeland. Both countries are nuclear powers, but U.S. interaction with these countries varies greatly. The U.S. has no diplomatic or official economic interaction with North Korea, while China is the U.S.’s number one trading partner.
North Korea, also referred to as the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK), is a single-party, communist state, governed by a family-dynasty dictatorship. The current Supreme Leader is Kim Jong-un, son of former dictator Kim Jong-il.
Challenges for the Local Population
North Korea is one of the most repressive regimes in the world with “all basic freedoms severely restricted” and no “functioning civil society.” There is no public Internet access and all media is state-run. The country has “one of the world’s most centrally directed and least open economies” and is one of the most impoverished countries in the world (CIA World Factbook). In February 2019, the North Korean ambassador to the UN admitted the government was “urgently requesting help from international organizations to feed its people.” About 18 million people (70% of the population) are dependent on government food rations and over 10 million (40% of the population, including 50% of children under 2 years old) are undernourished (UN).
Foreigners detained in North Korea are often subject to human rights abuses. Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea escalated in 2017 due in part to the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who was released to the U.S. after 17 months of incarceration in North Korea. According to the New York Times, foreigners imprisoned will likely endure “[a] forced confession, a show trial, a sentence to years of hard labor with little chance of appeal.” Though confronting Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions has generally taken policy precedence over the regime’s crimes against humanity, the U.S. has sanctioned North Korea over human rights violations. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea offers specific policy measures for advancing human rights in U.S. policy toward North Korea.
North Korea poses a direct nuclear threat to the U.S. and to U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific. It is an illegal nuclear weapons state, and continually violated the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) before withdrawing from the agreement in 2003. The state continues to develop and test nuclear weapons, despite ongoing condemnation and sanctions from the international community.
The North Korean regime conducted six nuclear weapons tests from 2006 through 2017 and conducted its first-ever test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in July of 2017. As of 2018, the Defense Intelligence Agency estimated North Korea had about 50 nuclear warheads, but most analysts give a range between 20 and 60.
The graphic timeline below outlines North Korea’s missile launches over the past 30+ years. Click here for a detailed list of North Korea’s latest nuclear provocations.
In November 2017, the Trump administration added North Korea back to the list of state-sponsors of terror. North Korea has aided the Iranian regime’s quest for nuclear weapons, and Pyongyang and Tehran have also been involved in nuclear cooperation with Syria (CRS, Foreign Affairs). North Korea has additionally engaged in illicit arms trade with Cuba and Burma and has provided military training to Hezbollah members since the 1980s.
North Korea also engages in cyberwarfare; North Korean hackers have “targeted the media, aerospace, and financial sectors, as well as critical infrastructure in the United States and globally” for years (Fortune). The country conducts ongoing cyber attacks on South Korea, and is thought to be connected to a series of hacks on financial institutions in 2016 as well as more recent financial hacks. Experts warn that the U.S. remains vulnerable to future cyberattacks from North Korea.
Today, China is run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and Marxist principles, young Chinese revolutionaries founded the CCP in 1921. Xi Jinping assumed leadership in 2012 and is the current President of China and the General Secretary of the CCP. The Communist party that rules China has over 86 million members (out of a population of 1.379 billion).
Click here for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Timeline of US-China Relations
Challenges for the Local Population
Income disparity in China remains extreme, particularly in rural areas. Between 2013 and 2016, economic growth brought over 50 million people in rural China out of poverty, but over 40 million still remain under the poverty line. Per capita income in China is below the world average; about 500 million (40% of the population) live on less than $6 per day (Borgen Project).
In January, 2019 Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2019 reported that “China’s assault on individual human right is at its worst level since the Tiananmen Square massacre.” The report specifically cites “mass surveillance techniques,” “the ending of presidential term limits,” and “the persecution of more than a million Uighur Muslims” in “re-education programs” (The Independent). These are not the first reports of such violations. CATO Institute suggests U.S. policy toward China should try to use free trade as leverage to advance human rights.
Economic Relations and Aggression
China was the U.S.’s primary trading partner, accounting for almost 16% of the U.S.’s total international trade in 2018. Due to trade negotiations and tariffs, however, by the end of 2019 China ranked as the U.S.’s third largest trading partner with 13.5% of total international trade. For more on the effects of tariffs and the U.S.-China trade negotiations, see The Policy Circle’s Trade and Tariffs Deep Dive.
China’s economy is still the world’s largest and according to the CIA World Factbook, “since the 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role,” although “China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state-support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime.”
China’s economic expansion is often intertwined with its military posturing, which poses another challenge. The latest U.S. National Security Strategy (2017) states, “China’s infrastructure investments and trade strategies reinforce its geopolitical aspirations. Its efforts to build and militarize outposts in the South China Sea endanger the free flow of trade, threaten the sovereignty of other nations, and undermine regional stability.”
In February 2019, Admiral Philip Davidson of the Indo-Pacific Command called the Chinese military “is the principal threat to U.S. interests, U.S. citizens, and our allies” in the region. The Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates China’s military budget was $228 billion in 2018, second only to the U.S. in military spending. China has a stockpile of about 280 land- and sea-based nuclear weapons and “its modernization program is adding significant new capabilities.” China’s military ramp-up has also intimidated its neighbors. China challenges Taiwan’s independence and pressures the country toward reunification with mainland China and postures aggressively in the South China Sea over territorial disputes with Japan and Taiwan.
China has a history of conducting aggressive cyber espionage campaigns against the U.S. government and businesses. Additionally, outside of the government, Chinese hackers’ breaches of U.S. government databases compromised 22.1 million people in recent years. In December of 2018, intelligence officials reported increased digital attacks in the “U.S. energy, financial, transportation and healthcare sectors” (Reuters). The U.S. has also clashed with Europe about China’s technology company Huawei, saying the company’s 5G technology will “be embedded with backdoors that will allow the Chinese government to spy.”
Finally, China’s increasingly close relations and cooperation with Russia is concerning, as the two hold permanent member votes on the UN Security Council: “…Moscow and Beijing routinely follow each other’s line, usually putting them at loggerheads with the West. And there has been some alignment on North Korea, too.” In 2017, China and Russia vetoed a resolution to impose sanctions on Syria “over the alleged use of chemical weapons” and in February of 2019 vetoed a U.S. resolution that would “push for democratic elections and humanitarian aid access in Venezuela.”
The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy sees China as a competitor to the U.S. but also calls for working together where security interests align. The administration’s strategy calls for renewed commitment to allies in the region, specifically Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, with a particular focus on economic cooperation, encouraging bilateral trade agreements, building high-quality infrastructure, and seeking access for American exports.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 countries in the Pacific Rim proposed under the Obama administration, intended to bring Pacific nations closer through “lower tariffs while also serving as a buttress against China’s growing regional influence” (NY Times). Proponents claimed the deal would “bolster America’s position in the Asia Pacific region,” but opponents criticized the TPP as a “secretive deal that favored big business and other countries at the expense of American jobs and national sovereignty” (BBC). President Trump signed an order for the U.S. to withdraw from the TPP in January 2017.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative investigated China’s trade practices and found many of these practices to be unfair to the U.S. and China’s other trading partners. Policies include restrictions on foreign ownership and foreign investment, subsidies to domestic industries, and pressure on U.S. companies to transfer intellectual property to Chinese entities. In January of 2018, the Trump administration proposed tariffs that would counter China’s “unfair trade practices.” China responded in kind, resulting in a “tariff war” that has led the administration to engage in trade talks to reach a deal for the billions of dollars worth of steel, aluminum, financial, technology, and agricultural products exchanged as well as protect U.S. intellectual property and end “the forced transfer of technology from U.S companies to their Chinese counterparts” (WSJ). As of July 2019, the two sides have still not reached an agreement.
Concern regarding digital attacks has escalated in recent years; the intelligence community’s 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment lists Chinese and North Korean cyber attacks as principle concerns. The Trump Administration’s 2018 National Cyber Strategy focuses on working with allies in the region, including South Korea and Japan, to organize an international Cyber Deterrence Initiative that will deter cyber attacks by imposing coordinated and supported responses to attacks.
Tensions between the U.S and North Korea escalated throughout 2017 on account of missile testing, but eased somewhat in June 2018 when President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Singapore to discuss “new relations” and “nuclear disarmament” (BBC). The two leaders failed to reach an accord on denuclearization in return for easing sanctions at a second summit in Hanoi in February 2019.
Since the February summit, North Korea has resumed short-range ballistic missile tests after an 18 month halt in testing as a sign of diplomacy (WSJ, NTI). However, during the G20 Summit in Japan in June 2019, President Trump met with Kim Jong Un and became the first sitting U.S. president to step into North Korea.
Deterrence and Missile Defense
Deterrence theory and our missile-defense program have historically played the main roles in U.S. strategy toward North Korea’s and China’s nuclear weapons buildup and posturing. As the United States and the Soviet Union raced to acquire as many nuclear weapons as possible after WWII, analysts pioneered the theory of nuclear deterrence. According to Mira Rapp-Hooper, Asian security issues expert at Yale University, deterrence is simple: “If you do X thing that I don’t like, I will do Y thing that will be even worse for you…If one country doesn’t fire nukes at another because its leaders believe the second country will respond with a devastating nuclear counterattack, then deterrence is operating as it should.
In over 70 years since the U.S. bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end WWII, there has been no conflict involving nuclear weapons. But deterrence isn’t a fail-safe mechanism, according to Jeremi Suri, Professor of Public Affairs and History at the University of Texas:
“The paradox of American nuclear power is that the nation’s overwhelming arsenal is almost unusable. The damage created by a single nuclear strike would be so great, it would undermine most American strategic purposes. The public revulsion, even from Washington’s closest allies, would make the United States a global outcast. And American nuclear action would justify others contemplating the same, tearing apart 50 years of global non-proliferation efforts” (Wired).
The State of U.S. Missile Defense
According to 2018 data from Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Defense Department maintains “an estimated stockpile of some 4,000 warheads,” 1800 of which are deployed in the United States and Europe. The remaining 2200 are “in storage as a so-called hedge against technical or geopolitical surprises.”
Visit the U.S. Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency site, which has an interactive graphics page where you can learn more about our ballistic missile defense system.
Geopolitical tensions are high in the Asia Pacific region and have the potential to result in repercussions that will greatly affect U.S. allies in the region as well as U.S. security, political, and economic interests. Maintaining and fostering strong alliances, and understanding and addressing challenges in the region and how they affect the U.S. homeland will be key to ensuring the success of U.S. policy in Asia.
Thought Leaders and Additional Resources
Heather Nauert, Hudson Institute fellow and former Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department, joined The Policy Circle to gather the pieces of the puzzle to understand U.S. foreign policy in the Asia Pacific region and its vital national security, diplomatic, and economic implications. Read the recap here or watch the conversation below:
Ways to Get Involved/What You Can Do
U.S. foreign policy is crafted principally in the executive branch, with the White House setting the agenda and assembling a national security strategy. At the Cabinet level, the Secretaries of State and Defense play key roles in shaping policy, determining priorities, and implementing strategy. The U.S. Foreign Service, under the aegis of the State Department, trains and employs our diplomats, who are posted at U.S. diplomatic missions throughout the world to carry out U.S. foreign policy.
In the legislative branch, elected representatives in Congress have Constitutionally-mandated responsibilities for foreign affairs, “including the right to declare war, fund the military, regulate international commerce, and approve treaties. At least as important are such congressional authorities as the ability to convene hearings that provide oversight of foreign policy” (CFR).
The best ways you can have an impact are:
- Keep informed, through Policy Circle briefs and by regularly checking referenced sources. Consider adding a scholar or journalist from this brief to your twitter feed to follow their latest thoughts and articles.
- Make your voice heard. To find out who your Congressional representative is, click here. To find out who your Senator is, click here.
See below for links to the House and Senate committees which handle foreign policy, defense, and national security matters. If your representative serves on one of these committees, contact his or her office with questions or concerns you may have on foreign policy-related issues within the committee’s purview.
- House Foreign Affairs Committee
- House Armed Services Committee
- House Homeland Security Committee
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee
- Senate Armed Services Committee
- Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
For a refresher on writing your rep and best practices for impact when engaging with him or her (or his/her staff), see the “How to Find Your Legislator and Be Heard” sections in the Policy Circle’s briefs on the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. For guidance on how to write a letter to your rep, see this Policy Circle guide.
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