The House voted overwhelmingly to pass a resolution Tuesday to create a select committee focused on U.S. competition with China, fulfilling a campaign promise Republicans made in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections.
The select committee, chaired by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), will zero in on the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological and security progress and the strategic competition between Beijing and Washington. The resolution tasks the panel with investigating and submitting policy recommendations on those matters.
The group — which will be made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats — has the authority to hold public hearings.
“I’ve heard my colleagues on both sides say that the threat posed by Communist China is serious. I fully agree,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said during debate on the House floor Tuesday. “This is an issue that transcends political parties. And creating the select committee on China is our best avenue for addressing it.”
“We want the very best ideas, and it doesn’t matter where they come from. At the end of the day, we won’t need a minority and majority report. We’ll just need one philosophy, with one principle, and America will be stronger for the future to come,” he added.
Ahead of the midterm elections, McCarthy said House Republicans would create a select committee on China should they take control of the chamber in November. He said he wanted to “look at every industry that China has tried to take control on” and “look at where China has been stealing our technology as well.”
He took a key step in following through with that promise in December, tapping Gallagher to chair the panel. In a Fox News op-ed that month, McCarthy and Gallagher said the panel would repair supply chains, end dependencies on China and bolster the U.S. military, among other functions.
The creation of the select committee also fulfills a longtime goal of McCarthy, who has been working to establish a China panel since 2020. He came close to doing so that year until Democrats pulled out of the effort.
McCarthy on Tuesday vowed that the current China panel would be free of partisanship.
“You have my word and my commitment, this is not a partisan committee. This will be a bipartisan committee that is my hope, my desire, to speak with one voice on the challenges that we have,” he said on the floor.
The comments were followed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the House, with a majority of the Democratic caucus joining Republicans in support — delivering a victory for McCarthy.
“House Democrats have been clear that we are willing to extend the hand of bipartisan partnership on issues where we can work together for the American people, and will also stand up against extremism where necessary,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said in a statement following the vote.
“As it relates to the new Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, House Democrats will work in a serious, sober and strategic manner to evaluate our relationship with the Chinese government and to address the rise of authoritarianism globally,” he added.
The Democratic leader noted, however, that his caucus “will firmly speak out against xenophobic rhetoric and conspiracy theories should this committee devolve into extreme MAGA Republican talking points that further anti-Asian hate crimes in this country.”
But not all Democrats were on board with creating the select committee. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who opposed the resolution, said he is “skeptical” of the panel’s objectives.
“There’s broad recognition among Democrats and Republicans that Congress must adopt a whole-of-government approach in response to the intensifying, great power competition between the United States and China. The formation of the select committee is the Republicans’ response to the China question,” Takano said during debate on the House floor Tuesday.
“However, I do remain skeptical of the true intentions behind the formation of this committee and I hope my Republican colleagues can approach this topic from a position of strength, not weakness, xenophobia or fear,” he added.
The congressman continued, saying that while “a specific focus on the strategic competition with China could be meaningful if the committee’s work remains constructive,” he questions “why the work of this proposed select committee could not have been done through the current committees of jurisdiction.”
Updated at 6:26 p.m.