McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (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.
“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.”
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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.”
The group — which will be led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (Texas) — will consist of GOP members who sit on committees that have jurisdiction over relations with China. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.), Andy Barr (Ky.), John Curtis (Utah), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), John Joyce (Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Darin LaHood (Ill.), Guy Reschenthaler (Pa.), Denver Riggleman (Va.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Chris Stewart (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 Scalise (La.), with House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), Jackie Walorski (Ind.) and Mark Green (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.”