House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) announced the creation of a “China Task Force” to examine “a wide range of China-related issues,” including the Chinese Communist Party’s role in allowing coronavirus to become a global pandemic.
Speaking to reporters in a press conference on Thursday, McCarthy accused Democrats of backing away from “something that has long been a bipartisan consensus in Washington,” claiming that he had reached an agreement for a bipartisan committee in February, only for the Democrats to pull back at the last minute.
“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 invite the Democrats to join with us,” McCarthy stated. “There was one moment in time they said yes, a few months ago they said no, I’d say there’s no important time now to join with us together, to work as one nation, as we face these challenges.”
The California Republican said the group would be composed of 15 Republicans representing 14 different committees of jurisdiction — “a microcosm of our entire conference.” Led by Representative Michael McCaul (R., Texas.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the committee includes Representatives Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.), Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio), Darin LaHood (R., Ill.), Mike Gallagher (R., Wisc.), Guy Reschenthaler (R., Pa.), Denver Riggleman (R., Va.), Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.), John Curtis (R., Utah), Andy Barr (R., Ky.), John Joyce (R., Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.), Jim Banks (R., Ind.), Michael Waltz (R., Fla.), and Chris Stewart (R., Utah).
Besides examining the CCP’s role in withholding early information, with a timeline showing officials withheld knowledge from the public about the virus’s transmissibility, the committee will also examine Chinese “influence” in American institutions, “economic threats,” and China’s “efforts to gain the technological advantage.”
“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,” McCaul told the Washington Post, which first revealed the committee. “This is the number one issue not only today but for the future.” McCarthy concluded by saying the group would compile a “comprehensive report,” with recommendations for potential legislative action coming by October.