House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced on Thursday the creation of a Republican “China Task Force” to coordinate legislative strategy on all aspects of China while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continues to investigate President Donald Trump.
McCarthy announced the task force, which will consist of 15 Republicans from 14 separate committees. The House GOP will use the group to mainstream ideas concerning China policy.
“All these issues existed prior to the virus and they just continue to grow in importance,” McCarthy told the Washington Post. “The rest of America and the rest of the world has woken up to this and now we’ve got to do something about it.”
McCarthy first teased the formation of this task force to Breitbart News during a press conference this week.
Republicans will form their own China task force, he said after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrats relented on a potential bipartisan China task force.
McCarthy told Breitbart News on Tuesday, “I gave my names up. We were going forward with it, but you will see that the Republicans, because the Democrats will not work together [with us] on that, we will put our own China committee together and not sit back and allow this to continue.”
The Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin revealed that the House congressional leaders planned to launch the committee in February, but the day before the launch, Democrats withdrew “without explanation.”
“Everything was a go . . . but then they backed out,” McCarthy added. “I can’t explain why they wouldn’t do this [in February]. I can’t explain why after the virus they won’t do this. But we cannot wait anymore.”
McCaul told Rogin:
Not only do we have to hold the CCP accountable for their role in the spread of coronavirus, the United States must take bold action to address the CCP’s malign agenda and better compete with China on the world stage. This is the number one issue not only today but for the future.
A senior Democrat aide said, “We are very cognizant of the need to hold China accountable for its actions. But to the extent this is going to be the Trump administration’s scapegoat for its utter failure, we are not going to go along with that.”
Rogin noted that Democrats have yet to propose a plan to address the “China issue.”
“If Democrats have an alternate plan for raising the priority of the China issue and organizing a response, they are hiding it well,” Rogin wrote.
While House Republicans start to investigate China, Pelosi continues her investigation into Trump and the administration’s coronavirus response.
Pelosi blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the Trump coronavirus response task force, from testifying before the House. She claimed Trump violated the dignity of the office of the presidency by attacking the House as “Trump haters.”
“To say that the Congress, the House, is a bunch of haters is so beneath the dignity of the office that he holds and so distant from the seriousness he should bring to a matter of life and death of so many people in our country,” she told MSNBC.
Pelosi also said they will look into the origins of the coronavirus after the pandemic ends.
“And in reference to what you’re saying about China, yes, we want to know how this started, but we want to know what the President knew and when he knew it and what his Administration did or didn’t do about it,” Pelosi said. “That’s for later – after-action review.”
“We cannot wait any longer. The stakes are too high to sit idly by, which is why today, I am announcing the Republican-led China Task Force. And I am inviting the Democrats to join with us; there was one moment in time that they said yes, and six months ago, they said no,” he said.
McCarthy described the group as “a microcosm of our entire conference.”
He said that the task force would investigate Chinese influence and operations targeting the United States, including America’s universities, think tanks, and media outlets. The group will also investigate “economic threats to our governments and our allies” as well as China’s “role in the spread of COVID-19.”
“The work will lead to a comprehensive report on legislative recommendations due by October,” he said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.