Although the new House committee on China is not focused on the spy balloon, Republicans and Democrats contend that it highlights the military, economic, and technical threat from Beijing.
In Washington Guns in meetings, partisan food fights over the Pledge of Allegiance, and a famous person’s profanity-filled tweet criticizing Donald Trump dominated the first hearings of several high-profile House committees.
With the new China select committee, that is not likely to be the case. In a Congress rife with party squabble, Republicans and Democrats on the panel say it might be the only sign of bipartisan agreement.
The word “serious” would appear as the largest word in a word cloud regarding this. That’s what I consistently hear. Rep. Mikie Sherill, D-N.J., a former Navy helicopter pilot, declared, “This is a serious commitment, and I believe it.
The two leaders of the China committee, chair Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), are setting the tone early by outlining the policy and legislative areas where they anticipate finding bipartisan consensus.
These include bringing attention to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) violations of human rights; what Gallagher refers to as “economic statecraft,” or coming up with a plan to lessen American reliance on China; investing in artificial intelligence, robotics, and other cutting-edge technology to compete with China; and looking into the alliance between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, particularly about Taiwan defense.
They have formed a de facto coalition to oppose the West. Xi’s junior partner is Putin. According to Gallagher, a retired Marine Corps captain who served in Iraq, “He is Xi’s tethered goat, and Xi is sort of using him to create mayhem throughout Europe.”
Republicans and Democrats, in my opinion, are generally devoted to assisting Taiwan in self-defense and making sure that Taiwan’s future differs from Ukraine’s current situation.
Early March is likely to see the first hearing of the 24-member panel, and although no specific plans have been made, Gallagher said he’d want to lead a group of committee members abroad soon.
The committee came under the limelight this month as tensions with Beijing increased over the China surveillance balloon that was shot down by Air Force pilots on February 4 after spending several days circling the continental United States. The military fired down a second “high-altitude object” on Friday over Alaskan territory, however, the United States was unsure whether it belonged to a foreign country.
The balloon breach, according to Gallagher, “elevates — pun intended — the threat posed by the CCP” and helps demonstrate why Americans should care about China, even though it won’t be the main topic of the China panel.
About the balloon incident, Gallagher said: “So obviously, I’ve been critical of the Biden administration’s response, and I don’t expect my Democratic colleagues to participate in that critique, and I wouldn’t use the committee to ram it down their throats.” “But I believe that the CCP party and the threat it represents will always remain the center of our attention.”
Since they both joined Congress in 2017, Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi have a history of collaboration. The two collaborated to found a new jobs caucus that year, and they have served side by side on the House Intelligence Committee. While there, they garnered media attention after questioning Pentagon officials about other enigmatic flying objects, also known as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UFOs.
“Even though he supports the Green Bay Packers and I support the Chicago Bears, we are sworn enemies, but we have a lot in common when it comes to our Midwest ancestry, “In a Friday phone interview, Krishnamoorthi said. “In our first year in Congress, we came together to form the Middle-Class Jobs Caucus. Therefore, we have previously collaborated on a lot of projects.
“We get along, we know each other fairly well, and I think that will help with future collaboration.”
On a resounding 365 to 65 vote at the start of this Congress, the House made a significant bipartisan statement by establishing the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party; 146 Democrats voted in favor.
Sherrill remarked: “Is this going to be a serious committee addressing China competition or simply some partisan mudslinging?” when Democratic leaders asked if she would join the panel.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy presented his GOP panel lineup, which included experienced hands like Reps, her worries were allayed. Rob Wittman from Virginia, Andy Barr from Kentucky, Dusty Johnson from South Dakota, Darin LaHood from Illinois, and Michelle Steel from California.
Soon after, Gallagher reportedly asked Sherrill a series of questions, including: “Who are you guys going to appoint? You guys are portraying serious individuals, right?
I had some worries about them for my leadership, so it was amusing. I reassured him that was our plan when he expressed some worries to me,” she stated.
Sherrill and Gallagher took part in a war-game simulation of what would occur if China attacked Taiwan last year. The two afterward participated in a panel discussion on the associated press about the exercise.
Others praised the panel members chosen by McCarthy and Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Reps. Kathy Castor of Florida, Andre Carson of Indiana, Ro Khanna of California, and Haley Stevens of Michigan were among the Democrats chosen.
LaHood, who sits on the Intelligence panel with Gallagher, Krishnamoorthi, and Carson stated, “I’m pleasantly impressed how the committee has been stocked with thoughtful, substantial, serious people that approach the subject of China and their negative operations thoughtfully.”
“I view this committee as an American issue, not a Republican or Democrat issue, “Added LaHood. “And based on who is there, I believe that’s mirrored in the people.
An updated Cold War?
The panel’s experience has not been entirely trouble-free. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., a former State Department representative in Afghanistan and member of the Obama administration’s national security council, is criticizing Republicans for portraying war with China as imminent. And he specifically mentioned Gallagher for declaring that the United States must “win the new Cold War” with China.
“It is not helpful if Chair Gallagher keeps referring to this as a “new Cold War.” It is not going to be beneficial in the long term when I hear individuals on the other side of the aisle speak to China as the adversary, Kim told the Associated Press. There is a thin line between deterrence and provocation, and you are crossing it in a way that will only inflame things and lead to more difficult situations as they escalate.
If you’re going to tell the American people that we’re at war, that’s an issue, Kim continued. And that’s something I believe is both just incorrect and too provocative.
Instead of defending himself, Gallagher declared he would make an effort to get down with Kim and talk about his colleague’s worries.
A cold war paradigm, according to Gallagher, “reminds us that we should work to keep it cold and avoid turning it hot and that our core duty is deterrence and averting hot war,” he added.