House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced on Thursday that Republican members of Congress had created a “China Task Force” to address a wide variety of issues and that the Democrat Party refused to join.
“Today I am announcing the formation of the China Task Force,” McCarthy wrote in a post. “Whether it is due to the tangle of politics or a stagnating lack of will, our country has neglected the warnings, signs, and even direct threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for far too long.”
The announcement comes as the world has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China, which spread in part due to China’s attempts to cover it up in the early days and China’s decision to stop domestic travel while allowing international flights to leave Wuhan for other countries. China’s lies about the severity of the coronavirus and the outbreak left the world ill prepared to know what was coming.
McCarthy highlighted some of China’s actions during the pandemic:
- Hid the severity of the virus and manipulated statistics, leaving the world reeling from a global pandemic
- Still refuses to allow international experts to investigate or share viral samples with the scientific community
- Forced the disappearance of whistleblowers
- Is carrying out a comprehensive propaganda campaign to spread misinformation
- Leveraged its supply chain monopoly for global influence
McCarthy said that the purpose of the task force was to counter “the full stack of Chinese threats” that the United States faces. McCarthy said that the task force will focus on the following:
- Influence operations targeting U.S. and foreign governments and civil society, including think tanks, higher education, business, and media outlets.
- Export control regimes and foreign investment screening mechanisms in the United States, and efforts to coordinate and harmonize these regimes with partners.
- Chinese economic coercion of governments and businesses in the United States and partner countries, including through the monopolization of critical supply chains.
- China’s role in the origin and spread of COVID-19.
- China’s use of U.S. institutions to educate and train its citizens who then use their training to damage the national security of the United States.\
- Chinese efforts to gain the technological advantage (in areas including 5G, AI, quantum computing, and other emerging technologies that may or may not have military applications).
- Chinese efforts to attain leadership positions and change norms at international organizations and standard-setting bodies.
McCarthy announced that the task force will have a comprehensive report ready by October 30, 2020 that will make recommendations for how the United States needs to confront the threats from China.
Democrats were set to join the task force, but on February 24, the day before the launch and as the coronavirus was spreading around the world, the Democrats “bailed on the project,” according to The Washington Post.
Dear @RepMcGovern, the facts are that Dem leadership had agreed to be part of this China Task Force but then pulled out one day before the announcement in February. Both parties have politicized the China issue, but this time your side walked away from bipartisanship. https://t.co/Wdc92vAKCw
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) May 7, 2020
“Since Democrats delayed participating in a bipartisan group meant to address pressing national security issues, Republicans are stepping up to execute on our original plan,” McCarthy concluded. “That said, this is not a partisan issue and we invite our Democrat colleagues to join us.”
House Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul will lead the effort and the task force will include the following Republican Representatives:
- Liz Cheney
- Darin LaHood
- Guy Reschenthaler
- Elise Stefanik
- Andy Barr
- Adam Kinzinger
- Michael Waltz
- Anthony Gonzalez
- Mike Gallagher
- Denver Riggleman
- John Curtis
- John Joyce
- Jim Banks
- Chris Stewart
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