McCaul Tapped to Chair House GOP ‘China Task Force’ that Democrats Bailed On

Task Force to tackle Chinese government’s role in origin & spread of COVID-19 CoronaVirus

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced recently that Texas Cong. Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, will serve as chairman of the GOP’s “China Task Force,” a committee of 15 Republican lawmakers representing 14 different committees of jurisdiction to coordinate a Legislative Strategy on all aspects of the China challenge. 

McCarthy and McCaul (at right,) say Republicans will use the body as a clearinghouse for ideas concerning China policy to set priorities, pool information, coordinate approaches, and devise tactics for actually getting bills passed into law.
“Not only do we have to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for their role in the spread of CoronaVirus, the United States must take bold action to address the CCP’s malign agenda and better compete with China on the world stage,” said McCaul.

“This is the number one issue – not only today, but for the future.”

The task force will also seek to tackle the issue of the Chinese government’s role in the origin and spread of the CoronaVirus that causes COVID-19.

For more than a year, top leaders from both parties in the House of Representatives had worked to form a Bipartisan Committee to oversee a Congressional Strategy on China, but in February Democrats bailed on the project.

Now, in the middle of the COVID-19 CoronaVirus pandemic, Republicans are moving forward without them.

"Our task force will hit the ground running to develop new and enduring policy solutions that, among others, enhance our economic strength and create jobs, protect our national security, rethink our supply chains and grow our competitive edge in technology," said McCaul.

“We'll provide frequent updates on our efforts, and later this year will unveil our comprehensive report with legislative recommendations."

The novel CoronaVirus pandemic has made clear the need for a national strategy to deal with China, however, the fact that the nation's two political parties can’t get together is an ominous sign that partisan politics is prevailing over the national interest, which plays directly into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
“All these issues existed prior to the virus, and they just continue to grow in importance,” McCarthy said last week.

“The rest of America and the rest of the world has woken up to this, and now we’ve got to do something about it.”

The original plan was to include a group of Democrats, as well. But the day before the original launch plan in February, the Democrats withdrew without explanation.

McCarthy (right,) said Democrats were welcome to rejoin the project, but that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the urgency for Congress to get its act together on China.

“I’ve worked on this for more than a year,” McCarthy said, adding that he discussed it with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as far back as last June during their trip to France to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

“Everything was a go, but then they backed out,” he said. “I can’t explain why... I can’t explain why after the virus they won’t do this. But we cannot wait anymore.”

Said McCaul:
“Under the totalitarian leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China has become the United States’ strategic adversary and most consequential foreign policy challenge of this generation.

"Their coronavirus coverup is yet another wake up call to the evolving threat they pose to the world."

The task force will hold meetings and briefings to get members on the same page regarding a host of China-related issues. The list includes:
  • China’s Influence Activities Inside the U.S.,
  • Export Control & Foreign investment Screening,
  • Efforts to take over International Organizations,
  • Control over Crucial Supply Chains,
  • the Organizational Presence on American Campuses, and
  • Economic Aggression.
This is not the first attempt to bring lawmakers together on China.

There’s the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group, whose co-chair, Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), is on the new task force. But the idea is to bring the National Security Committees together with committees that deal with Health, Education, Technology and Business, all of whom are dealing with various pieces of the China puzzle.

The issue has become bitterly partisan in Congress.

Republicans have introduced numerous bills to assign blame to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – which Democrats have to date opposed while accusing Republicans of distracting Americans and encouraging racism against Asian Americans.

The offices of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY, left conferring with McCaul,) recently declined to comment, but several sources have gone on record saying  Democrats backed away from the project because of a dispute between leadership and some members over who would be on the committee. Now, Democrats don’t want to join because they believe the China issue is just too politicized.

The GOP China Task Force — led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman McCaul — will consist of GOP members from House Committees with jurisdiction over relations with China, including:
  • House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (WY)
  • Jim Banks (IN)
  • Andy Barr (KY)
  • John Curtis (UT)
  • Mike Gallagher (WI)
  • Anthony Gonzalez (OH)
  • John Joyce (PA)
  • Adam Kinzinger (IL)
  • Darin LaHood (IL)
  • Guy Reschenthaler (PA)
  • Denver Riggleman (VA)
  • Elise Stefanik (NY)
  • Chris Stewart (UT) and
  • Mike Waltz (FL)
The reasons for getting everyone in the same room to define the realm of the possible in Congress remain. If Democrats have an alternate plan for raising the priority of addressing Chinese issues and organizing a response, they are hiding it well.