Members of a new House GOP task force on China are vowing their investigation will go beyond COVID-19 and include probes into a host of issues creating tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The fledgling task force led by Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulTrump administration preparing to require that some essential drugs be made in US: reportBipartisan lawmakers want review of State Department repatriation efforts during pandemicChina slams New Zealand for supporting Taiwan’s participation in global health meetingMORE (R-Texas), the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee will look into topics ranging from supply chain and national security concerns to human rights violations and Chinas growing influence on the world stage, in addition to early missteps with the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
Task force leaders have already discussed with a senior Trump administration official how best to work together on this, according to a senior staffer with knowledge of the talks. Panel members said they expect to receive classified briefings before publishing their findings in October, just before Election Day.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump outside groups raise .8 million in AprilBiden wins Oregon primaryGraham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before electionMORE and his administration have made China a political punching bag in the 2020 campaign, particularly as the pandemic ravages the U.S. economy.
McCaul said the need for a broad congressional inquiry into Chinas behavior is long overdue, and the countrys response to the deadly virus should serve as a wake-up call.
I think most people woke up after COVID-19 hit with a realization they had no idea that were so dependent on China for medical supplies and of course the technology coming out of there, he told The Hill in an interview. Were also really looking into the military posturing of the PRC [Peoples Republic of China] to ideology and how can we compete better with China.
House leaders initially planned to launch a bipartisan China task force this year, but Democrats later opted out, positioning the committee to proceed solely with a GOP focus.
That could prove beneficial for the party as congressional races and the presidential campaign kick into high gear, when candidates from both parties tend to talk tough on China.
Polls consistently show Americans are wary of China. A Pew Research Center survey published last month found that 66 percent of Americans have a negative view of China.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a member of the task force and one of the most vocal China hawks in Congress, argued Democrats decision to back out of the committee was more politically motivated than Republicans decision to move forward without them.
The fact that theyre turning a blind eye to the China threat can only be chalked up to politics with the election in six months, and frankly, I think its a foolish political move on their part, Banks said.
Democrats say that even though they arent participating in the task force, theyre still focused on working across the aisle on China policy.
China continues to be a focus for our caucus and our committees of jurisdiction are working on policies related to China, including combating Chinese disinformation, U.S. competitiveness in light of increasing competition from China and U.S. defense and national security challenges in the Indo-Pacific Command area of operations, a senior Democratic aide said.
In addition to McCaul and Banks, the task force consists of House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyTrump campaign launches new fundraising program with House RepublicansThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Harman says Russia is trying to exploit America; Mylan’s Heather Bresch says US should make strategic reserve in medicines; Trump unveils leaders of ‘Warp Speed’GOP sees groundswell of women running in House racesMORE (Wyo.) and Reps. Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrPut entrepreneurs, workers and flexibility in next stimulus packageMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceMcGrath outraises McConnell in first quarterMORE (Ky.), John Curtis (Utah), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherLawmakers move to boost federal cybersecurity in annual defense bill Bipartisan lawmakers call on Pompeo to defend Israel against ICC probesHillicon Valley: Health workers warn of virus misinformation | Grenell announces new intel ‘cyber exec’ | Lawmakers push for IT modernization in next aid packageMORE (Wis.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezEmbrace your inner data scientist for a path forward on COVID-19McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceHouse hits gas, Senate pumps brakes on T more in reliefMORE (Ohio), John JoyceJohn JoyceMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issuesGOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wallMORE (Pa.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceLawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interferenceBlagojevich calls himself a ‘Trumpocrat,’ praises Trump after release from prisonMORE (Ill.), Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceOvernight Health Care: Pressure builds on White House on testing | Georgia to reopen some businesses | Trump to meet with Cuomo TuesdayBlagojevich calls himself a ‘Trumpocrat,’ praises Trump after release from prisonMORE (Ill.), Guy ReschenthalerGuy ReschenthalerTrump attacks point to Pennsylvania’s critical role in reelection bidMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceFreshman Republican: ‘I’d prosecute the Democrats for obstruction’MORE (Pa.), Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanHouse defeats effort to prevent stimulus checks for undocumented immigrantsMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forceHouse lawmakers look to tamp down panic, amp up response efforts in their districtsMORE (Va.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikBipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governmentsThe Hill’s Campaign Report: More Republican women are running for House seatsGOP sees groundswell of women running in House racesMORE (N.Y.), Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartJustice Dept. reviewing if hate crime charges should be filed in Ahmaud Arbery shootingMcCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task forcePentagon grapples with coronavirus outbreakMORE (Utah) and Mike Waltz (Fla.). The lawmakers sit on 11 different committees with jurisdiction over China policy.
Gonzalez, a freshman lawmaker whos a member of the Financial Services Committee, said the task force plans to take a hard look at how theyve operated on the international stage.
Part of that focus, he said, will be on Chinas global influence, and how the worlds second largest economy is looking to rival the U.S.
Chinas leadership over the past two decades has been characterized primarily by a refusal to abide by any of the agreements that they sign up for and a commitment to undermine the international institutions in the international world order, and to displace the United States, and insert them as the leader of the world, said Gonzalez.
But the two countries have been working together recently, namely on a trade deal that has seen China buying more U.S. agricultural products. Trump signed the first phase of a massive trade agreement with China in mid-January, though the timeline for phase two is unclear as tensions have escalated between Washington and Beijing over the pandemic.
While the early days of the coronavirus outbreak will certainly be a significant component of the task forces work, members are aiming to highlight other areas of concern, and how they think those issues should be tackled.
The panel plans to craft an extensive report on policy recommendations and publish its findings by October, giving Republicans a potential campaign talking point.
I think there are three categories were looking at: geopolitical, military and economic, said Riggleman, a Russia and China threat expert from his time as an Air Force intelligence officer. And then within those categories, you know, we look at what the most important things are where has China been less than transparent as far as United States interests are concerned?