McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force

McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthy4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress MORE (R-Calif.) announced on Thursday the establishment of a Republican-led task force aimed at conducting probes and making recommendations to combat threats from China.

The California Republican cited China's failure to disclose information and spread of disinformation in the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak — which he feels could have played a critical role in preventing the pandemic — arguing investigations are warranted into the country’s actions.

“We have learned more about COVID, and one thing has become very clear: China's cover-up directly led to this crisis," McCarthy told reporters. “The Communist Party of China hid the seriousness of this disease, led a propaganda campaign blaming the U.S., used their supplies to exert influence and continue to refuse international experts to investigate what happened.

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“It follows the same threatening pattern of behavior we have seen from the Chinese Communist Party for years, something that has long been a bipartisan consensus in Washington."

McCarthy said he previously worked with House Democratic leadership on constructing a bipartisan panel on China, but members across the aisle opted not to move forward during the final stages. He said he welcomes Democrats to participate in the minority’s panel.

“For more than a year I have worked with the leadership of the Democratic Party to put together a bipartisan committee on China with an equal number of Republicans and an equal number of Democrats. I did get to that agreement, we got to the point to actually name the individuals, so far that one reporter has actually wrote the story, but did not post it yet, before the Democrats pulled back a few months ago. Well, we cannot wait any longer,” he told reporters.

“The stakes are too high to sit idly by, which is why today I'm announcing the Republican-led China Task Force, and I invite the Democrats to join with us. There was one moment in time they said yes, a few months ago they said no. I'd say there was no more important time now to join with us together to work as one nation, as we face these challenges.”

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The group — which will be led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm GOP lawmakers raise questions about WHO's coronavirus timeline China must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong MORE (Texas) — will consist of GOP members who sit on committees that have jurisdiction over relations with China. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneySome in Congress want to keep sending our troops to Afghanistan Biggs, Massie call on Trump to remove troops from Afghanistan Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide MORE (Wyo.) and Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.), Andy BarrAndy BarrThe Hill's Campaign Report: The political heavyweights in Tuesday's primary fights Democrat Josh Hicks wins Kentucky primary to challenge Andy Barr McGrath fends off Booker to win Kentucky Senate primary MORE (Ky.), John Curtis (Utah), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down Lawmakers introduce legislation to establish national cybersecurity director House Republican accuses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube of not doing enough to combat Chinese propaganda MORE (Wis.), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezEyes on the prize: Testing to end the coronavirus lockdown House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 Bipartisan group of lawmakers calls on DeVos to issue guidance on child abuse reporting amid pandemic MORE (Ohio), John JoyceJohn JoyceHillicon Valley: Livestreaming service Twitch suspends Trump account | Reddit updates hate speech policy, bans subreddits including The_Donald | India bans TikTok Trump campaign sues Pennsylvania, county election boards over mail-in voting House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 MORE (Pa.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerPentagon: 'No corroborating evidence' yet to validate troop bounty allegations Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police Trump faces bipartisan calls for answers on Russian-offered bounties MORE (Ill.), Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodEncouraging a safe business environment can help drive America's recovery Trump says 'decoupling' from China on the table House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 MORE (Ill.), Guy ReschenthalerGuy ReschenthalerGOP lawmakers raise questions about WHO's coronavirus timeline Trump's WHO decision raises bipartisan concerns in House Hillicon Valley: Livestreaming service Twitch suspends Trump account | Reddit updates hate speech policy, bans subreddits including The_Donald | India bans TikTok MORE (Pa.), Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanGOP lawmakers raise questions about WHO's coronavirus timeline Trump's WHO decision raises bipartisan concerns in House On The Trail: Trump, coronavirus fuel unprecedented voter enthusiasm MORE (Va.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter Pentagon: 'No corroborating evidence' yet to validate troop bounty allegations Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (N.Y.), Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartAtlanta Wendy's 911 call the night of Rayshard Brooks's death released Tyler Perry offers to pay for funeral of Rayshard Brooks Current, former NHL players form diversity coalition to fight intolerance in hockey MORE (Utah) and Mike Waltz (Fla.) have also been named to the panel.

"They will be looking at a wide range of China-related issues, including influence operations targeting the U.S., including our universities, think tanks and media outlets, economic threats to our government and our allies, efforts to gain the technological advantage and role in the origin and spread of COVID-19,” McCarthy said.

The California Republican said he is also appointing GOP lawmakers to the newly established Democratic-led select committee on coronavirus despite previously having reservations.

The top Republican on the panel will be House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph Scalise4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch Cheney clashes with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE (La.), with House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' MORE (Ohio) and Reps. Blaine LuetkemeyerWilliam (Blaine) Blaine LuetkemeyerScalise blasts Democrats for calling on certain companies to return PPP loans Scalise targets China, WHO response from coronavirus oversight perch McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force MORE (Mo.), Jackie WalorskiJacqueline (Jackie) R. WalorskiScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Scalise blasts Democrats for calling on certain companies to return PPP loans Scalise targets China, WHO response from coronavirus oversight perch MORE (Ind.) and Mark GreenMark GreenComer tapped to serve as top Republican on House Oversight Clyburn pledges not to recognize committee members who don't wear masks This week: Democrats set to move health care, infrastructure proposals with eye on November MORE (Tenn.) also being selected to sit on the committee.

House GOP lawmakers have been highly critical of Democrats’ decision to establish the panel, arguing it is redundant due to the other watchdog mechanisms in place and politically motivated.

"Unlike those who think this committee or this virus is designed to restructure government, the individuals we appointed have one goal in mind: truth and transparency,” McCarthy said.

“Despite the Democrats’ intentions, I know these members will honorably serve the American people in making sure this does not turn into another baseless partisan pursuit.”