Select Committee on China Competition to Set Bipartisan Tone in Primetime Hearing Tonight
The 118th Congress has thus far been dominated by two big issues: China and the debt ceiling. Later this week President Biden will speak House Democrats at their issues retreat in Baltimore Maryland. He will use the bully pulpit to advance the Democrats message that the debt ceiling should be raised without any conditions or negotiations over spending cuts. He will charge Republicans with wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare. But China is the issue that will dominate congressional attention this week.
The much anticipated first hearing of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and Chinese Communist Party is set for 7 pm tonight. Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Ranking Member Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) want to set a bipartisan, united tone to kick off the committee’s work. The message is the CCP presents a serious national security threat to the United States. The case will be laid out by both the members of the Select Committee and the witnesses, who include former national security advisor retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster and former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger.
But there is a lot more happening this week in Congress that relates to China. Republicans are seizing on reports that the Energy Department has concluded that the origin of COVID-19 was most likely a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Many Republicans have long suspected that the lab leak theory is the most probable explanation. China’s lack of transparency has furthered those suspicions and the new house majority plans to hold several hearings investigating the theory. Democrats have largely remained somewhere between antagonistic to skeptical or agnostic to the lab leak theory. The partisan divide on the theory stands out because Republicans and Democrats have remained largely united around issues related to China.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee has also decided to markup legislation from Chairman McCaul (R-TX) to give President Biden the authority to ban Tik Tok in the United States. Ranking Member Gregory Meeks has indicated he will oppose the legislation – largely for process reasons. Tik Tok is an issue that will continue to draw attention throughout the 118th Congress – in both the House and the Senate and from members of both parties. China policy will also feature prominently on the agenda of several other panels, including:
- Senate Banking, which will hold a hearing on sanctions, export controls, and economic tools for advancing national security and foreign policy.
- House Financial Services, which will hold a markup of 14 bills, including the Taiwan Conflict Deterrence Act (H.R.554), Chinese Currency Accountability Act (H.R.510), China Exchange Rate Transparency Act (H.R.839), China Financial Threat Mitigation Act (H.R.1156), PROTECT Taiwan Act (H.R.803), Neutralizing Unfair Chinese Export Subsidies Act (H.R.1137), and Taiwan Non-Discrimination Act (H.R.540).
- House Science, which will hold its first hearing on “The United States, China and the Fight for Global Leadership: Building a U.S. National Science and Technology Strategy”.
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