Republicans will be punished by their voter base if they side with “globalist” interests and fail to hold China accountable for the one-party state’s predatory mercantilism and negligence related to the coronavirus outbreak, said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), offering his warning on Wednesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Ed Martin.
Banks warned of the coronavirus’s spread via Twitter on January 31, cautioning against accepting the Chinese Communist Party’s epidemiological claims at face value:
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) January 31, 2020
Banks described China’s geopolitical ambition to usurp America as the world’s leading superpower. “I wish I wasn’t right about all of this, but any of us who have been following China for very long at all understand that it’s China’s design to seize on moments like these, like what we’re enduring at the moment, to capitalize on the moment as part of their longer-term strategy is dominate the United States militarily and economically.”
Banks’ earliest awareness of China’s predation upon American industry came from his father in the nineties. “I come from northeast Indiana. We’re a very blue-collar working class district. My dad retired from an automotive factory. He made axles all of his life, and all of my childhood I grew up hearing about what my dad intuitively knew, [which was] that China was stealing our jobs even back then in the nineties and disrupting our economy and that has led us down the perilous path that we’re on today.”
President Donald Trump ushered in a sea change regarding policy and popular opinion towards China and the status quo of international trade, observed Banks.
“President Trump is the first president in my lifetime to get tough on China while every other president in my lifetime has sought to appease and — sort of as I put it — hug the panda bear, rather than hold China accountable for their egregious behavior,” Banks said.
Banks introduced legislation to limit the Chinese government’s ownership share of U.S.-based companies to 51 percent. His website describes the Restricting Predatory Acquisition During COVID-19 Act as law “that would prevent predatory investments of American companies by the Chinese government. Rep. Banks’ bill would expand the scope of CFIUS to review purchases by companies with ties to the Chinese Communist Party during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“]My legislation] would prevent companies with ties to the the PRC from owning more than 51 percent of the shares in different types of companies, especially companies that are related to our national security,” Banks said.
Banks highlighted Hunter Biden’s financial relationship with the Chinese state as illustrative of weakness at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). “We need to build [CFIUS] up and give it more teeth, especially at a time like this where our economy is suffering because of the pandemic, and we know that China is trying to seize the moment.”
Strengthening CFIUS “could prevent these types of situations from occurring, the type of corrupt activities that Hunter Biden was involved with related to Chinese investments through the private equity funding he was a part of. This is the story I’m hearing out of Silicon Valley all the time with with these types of activities. It’s happening right in broad daylight as China comes in and steals our companies, our ingenuity, our intellectual property, our innovation, and turns around and takes it back to China views to serve their best interests.”
The Republican base is growing increasingly concerned about China as an adversary relative to previous years, assessed Banks.
Banks said, “I’ve been working on the China issue since I’ve been in Congress — for four years — introducing bills long before the pandemic, but today, now, you have almost — maybe over — half of Republicans in Congress who are introducing bills addressing the China threat. I applaud that and I’m glad about that.”
“Now it’s a larger issue,” added Banks. “The reason for that, though, is because — what you’re hitting on is so important — the Republican base isn’t going to stand for this any longer, and that’s why … I don’t have to convince [my constituents] that we should hold China accountable. They’re holding me accountable to hold China accountable, and I think you’re going to find that at large among the Republican base nationwide.”
Banks went on, “We’ve seen recent polling that shows that even the American population at large hold China accountable for what we’re experiencing today. We must hold them accountable, and if we don’t, it’ll be a true leadership failure that the voters will seek retribution at the ballot box for, so I hope my party — the Republican Party — gets it right, and I hope we won’t be persuaded by some of the more globalist so-called pro-business entities out there who have who recognized in the moment that public pressure is there against entangling ourselves further with China’s economy.”
Banks recommended Republican adoption of a “Made-in-America” campaign. “I hope that a year from now, those groups don’t come back and try to pressure Republicans to bend and give in to China’s demands, but rather the Republican Party does the right thing and forecasts a vision. A big part of our plan moving forward will be to do that, to disentangle our economy rather than further entangle our economy.”
Banks shared, “What I’m hearing from my constituents over and over is that we’re willing to pay an extra quarter for this product or an extra dollar for this appliance if it’s made in America versus being made in China. That’s a message that I remember hearing so clearly from my dad in the nineties when it came to be made in Mexico versus made in America. Now we need a new Made-in-America campaign related to purchasing American goods versus Chinese goods.”
“Will we reelect a president that’s tough on China, or will we turn to the opposite direction and elect a Democrat candidate in Joe Biden who we know is going to seek to appease China?” asked Banks. “That’s what’s at stake in the selection in November.”
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