Task Force, Barr call China a ‘generational threat,’ recommend action

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WTVQ) – A group of U.S. House members released a report Wednesday calling China a “generational threat” and recommending “bold, achievable” action to protect U.S. economic, technological, and military assets against the political threat the “Chinese Communist Party poses to the free world.”

The report came from the U.S. House of Representatives China Task Force, of which Kentucky Republican 6th District Rep. Andy Barr is a member.

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“This lays out not only the challenges but also the solutions,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said during a press conference releasing the committee’s work, which began in May.

The report contains three broad areas of recommendations, including correcting problems that make the nation’s supply chain, especially for precious minerals, vulnerable; modernizing government operations in areas such as financial oversight; and reinventing the defense department.

The changes are needed to make “sure America stays ahead of the rest of the world,” McCarthy said.

Later, Committee member Liz Cheney, noting the military needs net increases in funding of 3 to 5 percent a year, added the changes are necessary to “maintain supremacy.”

“This is the culmination of months long work to expose the CCP for what they are: the greatest threat to the United States since the fall of the Soviet Union,” said Barr, who was selected for the committee because he is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “In this report we don’t just outline the problems, we provide a roadmap for solutions. Sixty-four percent of our proposals are bipartisan, and I look forward to working with Democrats to confront what will be a multi-generational strategic competition between the United States and the CCP.”

“The Chinese Communist Party threat affects every American and transcends political parties. That is why House Republicans established the China Task Force to develop a comprehensive blueprint that would serve as our country’s guide to make us safer and more resilient,” said McCarthy, who, along with others, said the report also confirms China’s role in covering up the origins of the coronavirus and “lying” about its roots and its spread.

Saying the “sleeping giant” has awakened, McCarthy said the report is a “true appeal to the patriotism of Americans.”

Although the group touted the bipartisan nature of many of the proposals, at times, the press conference got sidetracked by partisan politics, with frequent jabs a Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even former President Barack Obama.

Barr served as Co-Chair of the CTF Subgroup on Competitiveness and on the Subgroup on Economics and Energy. Read the full CTF report here. Watch the full CTF press conference here.

Among the committee’s recommendations are:

  • H.R. 8197, Transparency in Chinese Government Investment Act (TCGIA): This proposal would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Treasury Department to investigate whether certain connections to the CCP by companies listing on U.S. stock exchanges constitute material information and should be disclosed in regular securities filings.  These connections include financial support from the CCP, any executive or officer of a company who holds or held positions with the CCP or Chinese government, or any affiliation with strategic Chinese initiatives, such as “Made in China 2025,” endangering American national security.  If the SEC find that these connections represent material information to investors, the SEC is directed to issue rules to require disclosure in regular securities filings.
  • H.R. 7998, NIST COVID-19 Cyber-Security Act: Which would require the Director of NIST to issue resources and guidance to universities and research institutions to protect research, including COVID-19 research, based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
  • H.R. 8163, the Countering China Through American Export and Competitiveness Act: This legislation would prohibit the American Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) from conducting large deals with Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), raise the dedicated amount for Ex-Im’s Program to counter China from 20% to 33%, and give Ex-Im the necessary tools to be more competitive against Chinese export credit agencies.
  • H.R. 8198, the National Security Through America’s Resources and Permitting Reform Act of 2020: Supports the domestic production of rare-earth elements, critical minerals, and carbon from coal and coal byproducts which are used in advanced technology, clean energy development and military equipment such as the F-35 fighter aircraft.  It is estimated that 80% of rare-earth minerals in the United States come from China.
  • Recommends that Congress should examine measures to codify a Higher Education Initiative in the FBI’s Office of Private Sector to protect federally funded research at universities from agents of foreign governments participating in academic espionage. Derived from Congressman Barr’s H.R. 8164, the Higher Education Research Protection Act of 2020.
  • Recommends the Administration carry out enforcement actions and sanction PRC banks responsible for North Korea sanctions evasion, including through more rigorous implementation of the bipartisan Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions and Enforcement Act.  Congressman Barr authored the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions and Enforcement Act and successfully included the landmark legislation in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).