FederalTradeTexas Republicans Join House Leader McCarthy in Houston With Promise to Curtail Chinese Communist Party

Projected to reclaim the U.S. House in November, Republicans plan to enact legislation that would crack down on Chinese espionage and hegemony over trade.
September 9, 2022
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Projected to be the speaker of the House after this year’s midterm elections, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) visited Houston on Thursday to discuss plans to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable in the coming years.

“For 50 years the Chinese Communist Party has launched an assault on the American way of life,” said McCarthy, who accused the CCP of unleashing a pandemic, monopolizing supply chains, stealing intellectual property, and placing propagandists in U.S. media, research centers, schools, colleges, and Parent Teacher Association meetings.

McCarthy also pointed to the Trump administration’s closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston in 2020, during which CCP officials burned thousands of documents to prevent them from falling into the hands of U.S. investigators.

“Secretary Pompeo said it, ‘the Chinese Consulate was a hub of spying and intellectual property theft,’” added McCarthy.

McCarthy’s remarks came in a gathering of fellow GOP representatives, including Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10), who leads the Republican Congressional China Task Force. As a former federal prosecutor, McCaul worked on the case of Johnny Chung who admitted to funneling CCP funds to Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.

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Following the closure of the consulate, McCaul said there had been 130 indictments, including of several members of China’s People’s Liberation Army, but that the Biden administration had dismissed the charges and dismantled a Department of Justice initiative focused on CCP espionage.

“Espionage has not gone away, but the cases have gone way down as evidenced by the fact they’ve only brought charges against 19 people and dismissed seven cases,” said McCaul. “So why is the Biden administration so weak on China?”

McCaul added that Biden had also lifted trade barriers on batteries and solar panels made in the Xinjiang province, where the CCP has been accused of committing genocide and extracting slave labor from the native Uyghur Muslims “in gross violation of human rights.”

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), who is retiring this year, accused Biden of ceding important industries to China while imposing “hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes on made-in-America manufacturing” and halting new trade agreements. Instead, Brady said, the GOP would work to expand U.S. exports.

Regarding exports, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02) said exporting natural gas from Texas would reduce global emissions, and pointed to the Chinese expansion of coal-based energy accounting for about 30 percent of worldwide emissions.

“If you care about climate change, if you care about the environment then the number one thing you should be going for is replacing coal generation with natural gas generation,” said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw and Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36) also noted that China contributes materials for illegal fentanyl trafficked across the southern border. Although fentanyl overdose has become the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 45, Crenshaw said, the Biden administration has remained silent.

McCarthy added that 300 Americans die every day overdosing on fentanyl, much of which comes across the border. He noted that Vice President Kamala Harris was also in Houston and asked why she was not going to visit the border “to see what’s happening.”

He stated Republicans will release more details of their legislative agenda, Commitment to America, next month, and that it would include policy proposals designed to curtail CCP interference and espionage and to bring the supply chain back into the U.S.

Republicans also plan to transform the China Task Force into a select committee, with McCarthy noting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had originally supported a bipartisan committee but had backed out “the night before” in 2020.

In 2018, headlines broke that a CCP spy had served as a driver for Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) for 20 years. In 2020, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, was found to have an intimate relationship with CCP spy Christine Fang.

Texas lawmakers have also expressed concern over CCP activities such as purchase of land, including a wind farm near the Laughlin Air Force Base, and in 2021 passed legislation prohibiting businesses from China and other hostile nations from gaining access to critical infrastructure systems.

In response to a reporter’s questions about how closing the consulate and targeting China’s activities might alarm Chinese Americans, McCarthy and McCaul emphasized that their focus was on the CCP.

“It’s not the people of China; the people are under intense oppression,” said McCaul. “Their freedom has been taken away. What I find with all Asian people, and there are many in the Houston area, they were fleeing from something.”

“It’s very important not to discriminate; it’s not about the people in China, it’s about the Communist Party in China.”

Other congressional Representatives joining the press conference at Harris County Republican Party headquarters included Jim Banks (R-IN-03) and Randy Weber (R-TX-14) along with GOP congressional nominees Morgan Luttrell and Wesley Hunt.

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Holly Hansen

Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.