House Democrats and Republicans joined forces Tuesday and voted overwhelmingly to form a new committee to look into U.S. strategic competition with China, following House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s declaration on the floor of the House that neither Democrats nor Republicans trust China anymore.
“We spent decades passing policies that welcomed China into the global system,” said McCarthy. “In return, China has exported oppression, aggression and anti-Americanism. Today, the power of its military and economy are growing at the expense of freedom and democracy worldwide.”
“It didn’t start under this administration, but the current administration has clearly made it worse,” continued the Speaker. “It’s policies have weakened our economy and make us more vulnerable to the threat of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party].”
McCarthy added,” There is bipartisan consensus that the era of trusting communist China is over.”
While the majority of Democrats have indicated they are ready to oppose most Republican proposals in the new GOP-controlled Congress, many have said they support the idea and will vote to approve the Select Committee on China Competition, while only a handful voiced opposition to it.
The House voted in favor of creating the committee by a vote of 365-65. It was supported by every Republican and over two-thirds of the House Democratic caucus.
The top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, Representative Jim McGovern, said he was concerned about some aspects of the committee, including whether or not it would only focus on the U.S.’s military competition with China. Additionally, Rep. McGovern, along with other Democrats said the committee should avoid fueling anti-Asian hate.
“President [Donald] Trump repeatedly mislabeled Covid with racist language. Such rhetoric coincided with spikes in hate-based acts of violence and discrimination against people of Chinese or Asian origin across our country. This language has no place on this committee or anywhere in Congress.”
“While I do have concerns here, after reading the resolution itself, I will be voting ‘yes,’” said McGovern. “The Democratic Party has led the way in implementing efforts to monitor China’s complains with international human rights and rule of law standards, and we will continue to do so here.”
McCarthy: Committee will not fall into ‘partisan posturing’
McCarthy assured House members, particularly Democrats, that the committee would not fall into partisan posturing and reiterated that he wants Democrats and Republicans to build a plan together to help America face an advancing China.
“Do not be concerned. Those are my same concerns as well, and they will not take place,” responded McCarthy to McGovern. “You have my word and my commitment. This is not a partisan committee. This will be a bipartisan committee that is mindful of my desire, my wish, that we speak with one voice, that we focus on the challenges that we have.”
“The threat is too great for us to bicker with ourselves,” he continued.
The McCarthy-proposed mission of the committee is to “investigate and submit policy recommendations on the status of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the United States.” The committee is being established after the realization that China is America’s most immediate military threat and economic competitor.
In McCarthy’s acceptance speech in the early hours of Saturday morning, the new Speaker said the committee planned on investigating “how to bring back hundreds of thousands of jobs that went to China and win the economic competition.”