Capital Corner BW

“Strengthening the Quad Act” Passed by the House: An Opportunity for Quad Cooperation

The House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 5375, “Strengthening the Quad Act. The legislation will increase engagement and cooperation within Quad through creating a Quad Intra-Parliamentary Working Group.

The US House of Representatives passed the “Strengthening the Quad Act” on February 15th (2024), opening an opportunity for further cooperation in the partnership between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia. Originally founded in 2004, the Quad was dismantled in 2008 and re-formed in 2017, and is now a key vehicle for the United States in realizing its Indo-Pacific Strategy. The alliance is also a cornerstone for security, economic, and diplomatic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, especially as the member countries confront the growing instability caused by a hostile People’s Republic of China in the region.

In recognizing the significance of the alliance, US lawmakers in the House of Representatives have passed the “Strengthening the Quad Act” (H.R. 5375) with a roll call vote of 379 to 39 votes. This widespread bipartisan support within the House parallels the steady momentum between the members: 2021 marked the inauguration of the annual Quad Leaders' Summit, a milestone for the alliance. The 2023 Summit established areas of cooperation, including infrastructure, investment, technology, maritime security, and more.

The “Strengthening the Quad Act” bill was proposed by Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The bill calls for the State Department to submit to Congress, a strategy to “increase engagement and cooperation with the Quad,” “enter into negotiations with Japan, Australia and India to establish a Quad Intra-Parliamentary Working Group” (where the United States would be represented by a group of Congress members), and “submit an annual report to the congressional foreign affairs committees.”

Highlighting his intentions for the bill, Meeks stated the following: It’s critical that democracies in the Indo-Pacific work together to uphold regional rules and deliver concrete benefits for the people of the region ... My Strengthening the Quad Act calls for a comprehensive strategy to advance Quad cooperation ... Congress will work to maintain a free, open, and resilient Indo-Pacific by advocating for a positive and practical Quad agenda."

The next step is for the bill to be passed by the Senate, and then signed by the President to become law. If the bill successfully becomes law, it would contribute to furthering engagement and cooperation in the Quad.

Lei Nishiuwatoko is a Spring 2024 Young Professional at the East-West Center in Washington. She recently graduated from Northeastern University, where she obtained a B.A. in International Affairs. Lei has previously interned at the NATO Defense College, WorldBoston, and L.E.K. Consulting.