U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Marco Rubio said Thursday they have begun an effort to get quick passage of a bill that would require the U.S. to verify whether Hong Kong should continue to receive special treatment by the U.S.
The legislation would require the U.S. secretary of state to certify at least annually that Hong Kong has enough autonomy to continue to warrant special U.S. trading consideration.
Passage of the measure, which would also allow sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong, would benefit pro-democracy protesters in the city.
Risch and Rubio, both Republicans, are hoping to get fast Senate approval of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act by voice vote.
Lawmakers would first work out differences between House and Senate versions of the bill before it is sent to President Donald Trump for him to either sign into law or veto.
The lawmakers’ Thursday announcement came as protesters paralyzed parts of the China-ruled city for the fourth straight day after months of demonstrations.