U.S. House China panel holds first hearing after lawmakers push seven bills targeting Beijing
- The Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, newly formed in January, will hold its first committee hearing Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
- The hearing caps off a full day of hearings and bill considerations focused on national security threats from China.
- Former U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is among the witnesses who will testify.
WASHINGTON — A newly formed House committee devoted to examining economic competition between the U.S. and China is holding its first hearing on Tuesday night, capping off a day of maneuvers on Capitol Hill aimed at holding Beijing accountable for recent national security offenses.
The Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party was formed in January shortly after Republicans took the majority in the House. Its inaugural event, scheduled for primetime at 7 p.m. ET, comes as lawmakers in the House and Senate renew their focus on China after the U.S. shot down a CCP surveillance balloon earlier this month.
Committee Chair Rep. Mike Gallagher said the hearing will spotlight human rights.
"We may call this a 'strategic competition,' but this is not a polite tennis match," Gallagher, R-Wis., will say in his opening remarks, according to a copy reviewed ahead of the hearing. "This is an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century — and the most fundamental freedoms are at stake."
An example is the U.S. government's targeting of the popular social media platform TikTok. The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced plans Monday to promote legislation giving the president the authority to ban the China-owned app in the U.S. TikTok boasts over 1 billion active users.
TikTok has been in lawmakers' crosshairs since former President Donald Trump proposed using executive powers in 2020 to ban the app over security concerns.
The Biden administration has also sanctioned six Chinese aerospace companies supporting the nation's military balloon program after the U.S. military shot down the Chinese spy balloon that drifted across the U.S. about a month ago.
Gallagher and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., ranking member of the select committee, called the balloon a "violation of American sovereignty" in a joint statement.
The administration's move prompted the advancement of several bills designed to bolster U.S. national security against China. Seven out of 10 bills passed by the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday addressed China or its neighbor, Taiwan. While they would still need to clear the full House and Senate before becoming law, the volume and speed of the anti-China bills moving through the lower chamber indicate a growing chasm between Washington and Beijing.
The House panel approved the following bills Tuesday:
- The "Taiwan Conflict Deterrence Act of 2023," to activate certain sanctions against Chinese leaders and their families if Beijing acts against Taiwan.
- The "Preventing the Financing of Illegal Synthetic Drugs Act," to study illicit financing in drug trafficking to stop the flow of fentanyl of Chinese origin into American communities.
- The "Taiwan Non-Discrimination Act of 2023," to require the U.S. to advocate for Taiwan's membership at the International Monetary Fund.
- The "Chinese Currency Accountability Act of 2023," To require the Treasury Secretary to oppose an increase in the weight of China's currency in the group of currencies influencing the value of Special Drawing Rights.
- The "China Exchange Rate Transparency Act of 2023," to require the U.S. Director at the IMF to advocate for transparent disclosure of China's exchange rate policies.
- The "PROTECT Taiwan Act," to require the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Secretary and the Securities and Exchange Commission to exclude Chinese representatives from certain international proceedings if Taiwan is invaded.
- The "China Financial Threat Mitigation Act of 2023," to require the Treasury Secretary to report on global economic risks from China.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs also queried witnesses Tuesday on advancing U.S. national security through sanctions and export controls.
"The Chinese government made its aims clear: to dominate advanced technology and global strategic supply chains," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chair of the committee, said in opening statements. "The 'Chinese Communist Party's' civil-military fusion policy erases the line separating commercial and military use of finished goods – and of the technologies that go into them."
Gallagher will echo these statements during the Tuesday night hearing.
"The CCP laughed at our naïveté while they took advantage of our good faith," Gallagher will say of previous economic approaches by the U.S. "But the era of wishful thinking is over. The Select Committee will not allow the CCP to lull us into complacency or maneuver us into submission."
Matthew Pottinger, former U.S. Deputy national security adviser; former U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; Yong Ti, a Chinese human rights advocate; and Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, are scheduled to testify at the hearing.