The resolution was jointly introduced yesterday to the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee by Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, and James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.
As examples of China's use of force in the waters, the resolution says three Chinese vessels, including two security ships, ran into and disabled the cables of an exploration ship from Vietnam last Thursday.
In March, the Philippines reported that China's patrol boats attempted to ram one of its surveillance ships in the area.
The resolution calls for "a peaceful, multilateral resolution to maritime territorial disputes in Southeast Asia" and supports the continued operations by US forces to "assert and defend freedom of navigation rights in international waters and air space in the South China Sea."
Several countries, including China, the Philippines and Vietnam, have disputed territorial claims over the Spratly Islands and others in the South China Sea.