House Republicans release recommendations for China crackdown

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a Wednesday news conference that he had been working for nearly eight months to assemble a bipartisan task force to address economic, technological, military and political threats from China. But Democrats ultimately bailed on the initiative the night before it was supposed to be announced, McCarthy said.

President Donald Trump and the GOP — who have made cracking down on China a central campaign theme — have tried to paint Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as soft on China. Democrats, of course, reject the charges and point out that Trump initially touted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s response to the coronavirus.

The GOP’s report lays out 83 key findings and makes 430 policy recommendations, two-thirds of which are bipartisan, according to McCarthy. Since its inception, the task force has met with 125 people, including policy experts, business leaders, lawmakers and current and former administration officials.

“It is not only the most thorough report on China in the history of the House, it’s bold, achievable, and bipartisan,” McCarthy told reporters. “It doesn’t just lay out the challenges, it lays out the solutions.”

The blueprint calls for securing medical and national security supply chains, striking a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan and limiting the Thrift Savings Plan from investing in certain Chinese companies. The report also calls for evaluating whether the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes against humanity in Xinjiang amount to genocide and providing a safe harbor for Hong Kong refugees.

During a press conference, task force members highlighted the stack of recommendations that already have strong bipartisan support and expressed hope that many of them could actually become law.

“I don’t know of another issue in American politics that united me and Chuck Schumer as closely as countering the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

McCarthy, when pressed on whether he thought Biden would be willing to implement these recommendations if he wins the White House, said he was concerned that the former vice president wouldn’t be as tough as the Trump administration in standing up to China.

“I would hope Joe Biden would read this report,” McCarthy said. “But that would be a real concern to me of why switching administrations would be wrong.”

McCarthy has also highlighted the China Task Force recommendations in his election-year agenda that was released earlier this month, signaling it would be a top priority for the GOP if they win back the House.

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House GOP China task force releases recommendations

The House GOP’s China task force unveiled its full report laying out hundreds of recommendations and legislative suggestions to combat threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday. 

The report includes more than 400 policy recommendations to address issues ranging from national security concerns, human rights violations, problems with the supply chain, Beijing’s missteps in its handling of the pandemic and China’s overall expanding influence on the world stage.

The task force — which is made up of 15 GOP lawmakers who sit on 11 different committees — was initially slated to be bipartisan before Democrats ultimately opted out before its launch in May.

Republicans insisted the report is not politically motivated, even as President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE has sought at every turn to tie Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE to China. The report is being released less than five weeks before Election Day.

“It’s not a Republican or Democrat report, it’s not a political exercise, it’s policy. And we hope it will be a blueprint for future Congresses,” Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) told The Hill in an interview. McCaul is the the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the task force. 

“In fact, two-thirds of the legislative recommendations we make are bipartisan recommendations, some of which have already been passed in either House or Senate, and it deals with everything Chinese Communist Party related.” 

The report comes amid one of the lowest points in relations between the U.S. and China, with the two side clashing over trade, intellectual property protections, cyber security, human rights, Hong Kong’s freedom and Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. 

Recommendations included in the report include a push for a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan, for the U.S. to provide a safe haven for Hong Kong refugees and calls on the administration to look into whether human rights violations in China against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups rise to the level of genocide. 

The group also calls for the implementation of a foreign investment blacklist for countries that require heightened scrutiny, increased transparency in companies’ financial disclosures that do business in the Xinjiang region in addition to substantial military investments and investments into technology to remain competitive. 

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