‘A serious committee’: Lawmakers have high bipartisan hopes for China panel as tensions rise

Spread the love

WASHINGTON — For a number of high-profile Home committees, their first hearings have been dominated by partisan meals fights over the Pledge of Allegiance, guns in meetings and a star’s expletive-filled tweet about Donald Trump.

That’s unlikely to be the case with the brand new choose committee on China. Republicans and Democrats on the panel say it might be the one vivid spot of bipartisan cooperation in a Congress brimming with partisan bickering.

“For those who have been taking a look at a phrase cloud about this, the most important one could be ‘critical.’ I hear that from everybody. It is a critical committee, and I imagine it,” mentioned one member, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., a former Navy helicopter pilot. 

The China committee’s two leaders — Chair Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and rating member Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Sick. — are setting the tone early, figuring out areas the place they are saying they look forward to finding bipartisan settlement on coverage and laws.

These areas embody spotlighting human rights abuses by the Chinese language Communist Get together, or CCP; what Gallagher calls “financial statecraft” or devising a technique to cut back U.S. dependence on China; making investments in synthetic intelligence, robotics and different new expertise to compete with China; and investigating the alliance between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese language President Xi Jinping, particularly because it pertains to defending Taiwan.  

“They’re engaged in a de facto alliance in opposition to the West. Putin is Xi’s junior companion. He’s Xi’s tethered goat, and Xi is type of utilizing him to sow chaos in Europe,” mentioned Gallagher, a retired Marine Corps captain who served in Iraq.

“I feel Republicans and Democrats are largely dedicated to serving to Taiwan defend itself and making certain that Taiwan’s future doesn’t resemble Ukraine’s current.”

The 24-member panel’s first listening to will seemingly happen in early March, and Gallagher mentioned he’d like to guide a delegation of committee members abroad within the close to future, although nothing concrete has been deliberate.

Mike Gallagher
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., speaks with reporters on the Capitol on Jan 3. Carolyn Kaster / AP

The committee was thrust into the highlight this month, as tensions with Beijing heated up over the China surveillance balloon that hovered over the continental U.S. for a number of days earlier than it was shot down by Air Drive pilots on Feb. 4. The navy on Friday shot down a second “high-altitude object” flying over Alaskan airspace, although the U.S. was not sure it was international owned.

Whereas it gained’t be the main target of the China panel, Gallagher mentioned the balloon breach “elevates — pun supposed — the risk posed by the CCP” and helps illustrate why People ought to care about China.

“So clearly, I’ve been important of the Biden administration’s response, and I don’t count on my Democratic colleagues to hitch in that criticism, and I wouldn’t use the committee to shove it down their throats,” Gallagher mentioned of the balloon incident. “However I feel our focus is all the time going to be on the get together [CCP] and the risk the get together poses.” 

Two Midwesterners  

Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi have had a historical past of working collectively since they each arrived in Congress in 2017. That yr, the 2 teamed as much as launch a brand new jobs caucus, and so they have served alongside one another on the Home Intelligence Committee, the place they acquired media consideration after urgent Pentagon officers on different mysterious flying objects Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, extra generally often called UFOs.    

“Even if he’s a Inexperienced Bay Packers fan and I’m a Bears fan — sworn adversaries — we truly share rather a lot in widespread when it comes to our Midwest heritage,” Krishnamoorthi mentioned in a cellphone interview Friday. “We shaped the Center Class Jobs Caucus collectively in our first yr in Congress. And so we’ve completed a number of work collectively prior to now.”

“We all know one another fairly properly, we get alongside, and I feel that may assist with having collaboration going ahead.”

 (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO via AP Images)
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Sick., speaks on the Capitol on Aug. 10, 2022.Francis Chung / Politico by way of AP file

The Home made a giant bipartisan assertion by creating the Home Choose Committee on Strategic Competitors between america and the Chinese language Communist Get together on an amazing 365 to 65 vote at first of this Congress; 146 Democrats voted sure.

When Democratic leaders approached Sherrill and requested if she would serve on the panel, her first query was: Is that this going to be a critical committee addressing China competitors or simply some partisan mudslinging?

Her considerations have been alleviated after Speaker Kevin McCarthy unveiled his GOP roster for the panel, which included regular palms like Reps. Rob Wittman of Virginia, Andy Barr of Kentucky, Darin LaHood of Illinois, Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and Michelle Metal of California.

Quickly after, Sherrill mentioned Gallagher approached her with a collection of questions: “Who’re you guys going to nominate? You guys are placing on critical individuals, proper?”

“So it was humorous as a result of I had some considerations about them for my management. … He had some considerations for me, after which I assured him that that was our intention,” she mentioned.

Sherrill participated with Gallagher final yr in a war-game train of what might occur if China assaults Taiwan. The 2 later joined a panel dialogue in regards to the train on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Others additionally applauded McCarthy’s and Democratic Chief Hakeem Jeffries’ picks for the panel. Among the many Democrats chosen have been Reps. Kathy Castor of Florida, Andre Carson of Indiana, Ro Khanna of California and Haley Stevens of Michigan.

“I’m pleasantly shocked how the committee has been populated with considerate, substantive, critical members that take the difficulty of China and their malign actions in a critical manner,” mentioned LaHood, who serves with Gallagher, Krishnamoorthi and Carson on the Intelligence panel.

“I have a look at this committee as not a Republican or Democrat problem, however an American problem,” LaHood added. “And I feel that’s mirrored by the parents which might be on there.”

A brand new Chilly Conflict?

It hasn’t been all clean crusing for the panel. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., a former State Division official in Afghanistan who additionally served on the nationwide safety workforce within the Obama White Home, is asking out Republicans who’ve portrayed conflict with China as inevitable. And he singled out Gallagher by title for writing that the U.S. must “win the new Cold War” in opposition to China.    

“If Chair Gallagher retains speaking about this as a ‘new Chilly Conflict,’ that’s not useful. Once I hear individuals on the opposite facet of the aisle confer with China because the enemy, that’s not going to be useful in the long term,” Kim advised NBC Information. “There’s a tremendous line between deterrence and provocation, and you might be crossing over that in a manner that’s solely going to inflame and create higher escalatory challenges.”

Kim continued, “For those who’re going to sign to the American those who we’re at conflict, that’s an issue. And that’s one thing that I feel is unnecessarily provocative; it’s additionally simply false.”

Moderately than get defensive, Gallagher mentioned he would attempt to sit down with Kim and have a dialog to deal with his colleague’s considerations.

“If nothing else,” Gallagher mentioned, “a chilly conflict paradigm reminds us that we should always endeavor to verify it stays chilly and doesn’t flip scorching and that our core perform is deterrence and stopping scorching conflict.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *