Rubio moves to block Obama on China pact

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit Poll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Milley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job MORE (R-Fla.) is trying to block President Obama's export agreement with China.  

The 2016 presidential contender, along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), introduced a joint resolution of disapproval of the U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement that the administration handed over to lawmakers in April. 
 
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Obama is pushing for a 30-year extension of the agreement, which allows U.S. companies to export their products and technologies to China. The deal is currently poised to expire at the end of the year. 
 
Rubio called Obama's decision to ask for an extension "unbelievable." 
 
"I find it unbelievable that the Obama Administration has submitted a new nuclear cooperation agreement with China to Congress given recent Chinese behavior,” Rubio said. “Congress established guidelines for U.S. nuclear cooperation policy to prevent proliferation, not encourage it."
 
He pointed to the Chinese government's work with Iran and North Korea on military technology, while simultaneously testing "the boundaries our relationship by conducting devastating cyberattacks against American businesses and U.S. government agencies."
 
Rubio added that his Senate colleagues should block the agreement and not allow Obama "another opportunity to weaken our national security." 
 
China has also come under U.S. criticism for building islands in the South China Sea, which the United States argues has increased tensions in the region. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Rubio is a member of, held a closed meeting with State Department and Defense Department officials last week on activity in the region. 
 
Cotton cited "China's belligerence in the South China Sea" as one of a handful of reasons why the Senate should block the agreement. 
 
“This agreement erodes the advantage our Navy has over the Chinese Navy and ultimately puts U.S. Sailors and Marines at a greater risk in a confrontation scenario," he added. "President Obama should withdraw the agreement until China ceases its cyber-attacks and arrests known proliferations.”
 
But the Republicans' push pits them against the nuclear energy industry, which wants the agreement to continue after the end of the year. 
 
Both Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the panel's ranking member, have voiced concern about China's nonproliferation activities, but they've also both backed the idea of a nuclear cooperation agreement.