Previously, I offered some advice to the new U.S. House GOP majority regarding committees, specifically that investigatory committees are not ends unto themselves but a means to crafting legislation that will improve Americans’ lives. Presently, then, let us look at the creation of a select committee that augurs well for the national security of our nation.
Permit me a momentary indulgence in nostalgia. At times, I have related an encapsulated version of my decade-long experience in Congress trying to raise the alarm about Communist China’s strategic threat and rival model of governance.
Following a leadership meeting circa 2007, I once referred to “Communist China.” A senior, powerful member from California countered, “there is no need to be provocative. There are no communists anymore.” I reminded my colleague how “that will come as a surprise to the over 70 million members of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Fast forward 15 years, when another California Republican, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), had a different opinion; and led the drive to establish the U.S. House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. The bipartisan vote was 365-65.
Per Reuters, all 65 Nays were cast by Democrats, who chose to put party ahead of country. Perhaps, these 65 Democrats were concerned Joe Biden, given his family’s coziness with the Chi-coms, might arise as an issue when the committee investigates the CCP’s influence peddling in Washington. Of course, since it is their wont to project their sins upon others, while arguing the committee could be overly partisan, both those Democrats who voted against the resolution and even those Democrats who voted for the committee indulged in partisan rhetoric and implied that the GOP is racist. Per Reuters:
Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, a co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a grouping of House members and senators which studies China policy, said he would vote to create the select committee despite concerns it might be overly partisan.
‘We certainly don’t want it to turn into a place that perpetuates anti-Asian hate,’ McGovern said, citing past rhetoric such as Republican former President Donald Trump’s labeling of COVID-19 as ‘the China virus.’
Should we assume by his remarks that Representative McGovern (D-Mass.) will support investigating the origins of COVID, so as to finally be able to factually refute this allegation? Maybe no more than we can expect him to stop using the same scurrilous accusation of “anti-Asian racism” the Chinese Communist Party hides behind to obfuscate their genocide against the Uighurs, their totalitarian repression of the entire Chinese population, and their countless malevolent practices around the world.
Whatever their reservations, 146 Democrats did vote to create this crucial committee, agreeing with the speaker that “one of the greatest worries about the future is that we fall behind Communist China.”
Representative of the Democrats who voted to establish the committee was U.S. Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.). According to a report by Samantha Aschieris of the Daily Signal (the news outlet of the Heritage Foundation), Moskowitz rightly asserted:
We should never again be dependent on other countries in order to protect American citizens . . . (W)e need to find smart, strategic ways to improve our supply chain and establish a competitive edge against the CCP.
It is my hope and vision that the select committee stays clear of partisanship and submits policy recommendations that will strengthen our edge over the CCP. There are clear bipartisan steps we can take to make America more competitive.
Further, per the Daily Signal, the committee’s new chair, Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) certainly understands the stakes and intends to commence this task with alacrity:
It is time to push back against the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression in bipartisan fashion, and today’s overwhelming bipartisan vote to create the Select Committee on the CCP is an important first step in that direction. The next step is to populate the committee with serious members on both sides and get to work with a sense of urgency.
Per my past suggestions, the new committee has a concrete, salient interest with Americans, who well understand the nature and danger of the Chinese Communist Party’s rogue regime. Further, the committee’s charge understands the investigation is not an end unto itself. Its goal is to “submit policy recommendations on the status of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the United States.” Any legislation which follows will be referred to the appropriate committees for consideration and passage.
The committee will have to navigate some treacherous and predator-infested waters in the swamp, however. After the pandemic, some in the business community finally recognized the need to economically divest from communist China. The majority of Corporate America—notably, Big Tech—will nevertheless continue to put profits ahead of country; do everything in its power to frustrate the committee; and, when legislation is proposed based upon its policy recommendations, will do everything it can to lobby behind the scenes to eviscerate or kill the bill. Thus, it is imperative for the committee to avail itself of the ability to “at its discretion, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.” If feasible, the committee should hold some of the hearings in different parts of the country. The fostering of public support for the policy changes requisite to address Communist China is critical for not only their legislative success; but for the citizenry’s commitment to see them through to success, which will require sacrifice and may well take years to accomplish.
The American people have long understood that Communist China presents a strategic threat and rival model of governance to America and all democratic nations. And, despite the trillions of dollars in corporate profits and millions in lobbying, political contributions, and CCP influence peddling and propaganda, the American people persevered and triumphed.
As Michael Cunningham, a research fellow focusing on China in the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, noted, “The establishment of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party is a very welcome, and frankly long overdue, development.”