As Republicans ramp up their rhetoric on China and introduce legislation to oppose that communist nation, Democrats are taking notice–and a congresswoman from Central Florida is pushing the U.S. House majority to do more.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., has joined several fellow Blue Dog Democrats in backing the “Preventing China From Exploiting COVID-19 Act” which would have the Director of National Intelligence study all of the methods China is using to exploit the pandemic in the U.S. and report those findings to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., introduced the proposal last week. The bill has a dozen cosponsors including Murphy and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla.
“Bipartisan concerns in Congress about Chinese government policies have only increased once COVID-19 emerged in China and spread to virtually every country in the world. Since the start of this pandemic, we have witnessed a pattern of alarming behavior from the Chinese government in a range of areas,” said Murphy. “This bill would provide U.S. policymakers with an intelligence community assessment of the different ways the Chinese government may be seeking to exploit the pandemic. Armed with this information, we can hold the Chinese government accountable and protect American interests.”
“No one should seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic for political or economic advantage,” said Horn. “We must examine whether the Chinese Communist Party has used intellectual cyber-theft, misinformation campaigns, and aggressive territorial maneuvers, among other tactics to take advantage of the pandemic. We need to get to the bottom of where the Chinese government has exploited COVID-19 and undermined our fight against the global pandemic. Where they’ve crossed the line, they must be held accountable.”
At the end of May, Murphy and other Democrats wrote U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling for bipartisanship when it comes to taking on China.
“It is imperative for members of Congress to work across party lines if we want to influence Chinese policy and to hold the CCP accountable when its actions cross the line, as they have in the case of COVID-19. If we retreat to our partisan corners, we will only weaken the United States, strengthen China, and play into the hands of those who want China to replace the United States as the world’s preeminent power,” they wrote.
U.S. House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., set up a panel to deal with China filled entirely with Republicans. The GOP has also introduced several measures that aim to hold China accountable, including the possibility of sanctions.
Horn’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.