Casey: “If Johnson continues to stand in the way of this bipartisan legislation, he’ll be aligning himself with President Xi Jinping, and against the interests of the American people”
Casey’s bill would provide insight into the vulnerabilities and risks posed to our national security when Chinese companies have access to our military and national security technology
Washington, D.C. – In case you missed it, Senator Bob Casey authored an op-ed, “When it comes to China, Speaker Johnson’s talk is cheap” on House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Republican House leadership’s intention to squander a critical opportunity for the United States to combat China’s continued theft of American technology in critical national security sectors. As the sponsor of the Outbound Investment Transparency Act, Senator Casey called for giving the United States visibility into investments in national security sectors made in countries of concern, including the People’s Republic of China.
Read Senator Casey’s full op-ed below or HERE
The Hill: When it comes to China, Speaker Johnson’s talk is cheap
By Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
There’s a lot of talk these days in Washington about getting tough on China, but meaningful action is proving harder to come by. As Congress works to pass the annual defense bill, we have an obvious chance to combat China’s continued theft of American technology in critical national security sectors, yet Republican House leadership seems intent on squandering that opportunity.
The United States is in competition with a communist government that doesn’t play by the rules and is an economic adversary of our country. The Chinese government is willing to manipulate economic tools for national security gains and global dominance. As U.S. companies have invested in the Chinese market over the past few decades, the Chinese Communist Party has strategically sought inroads to industries critical to our national security — leaving the U.S. dependent on China for manufacturing and giving the Chinese government access to our military and spyware technology. This is a risk too great to let continue.
If a U.S. company is giving American satellite or hypersonic technology to a Chinese company tied to the Chinese military, the U.S. government should know about it. It’s that simple.
Three years ago, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and I began working on legislation to address this very issue. We believed that the U.S. needed insight into the vulnerabilities and risks posed to our national security when Chinese companies have access to our military and national security technology. By screening the outbound investments that U.S. companies are making in China, we can begin to understand the scope of the problem and begin to take steps to protect ourselves. Many of our colleagues agreed that this was a worthy issue for Congress to address; our bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming 91-6 vote. There isn’t much that earns the support of 91 senators these days, but members on both sides of the aisle understood what is at stake if we do not act.
Now it’s the House’s turn. House Republicans so far have talked a big game on China. Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) have introduced various, robust bipartisan proposals to address the issue. The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, led by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), has done substantive, bipartisan work to outline the threats that the Chinese government poses, including endorsing outbound investment legislation. Now is the time for action. For passing legislation. For meaningful change.
While efforts to address outbound investment in China have bipartisan support in the House, a small but influential faction of the House Republican Caucus has decided to object to our legislation at the 11th hour. It appears that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) are stopping our bill from being passed as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act. It’s not just this proposal; Johnson and McHenry are also blocking legislation to stop the flow of illicit fentanyl precursor chemicals from China and to prevent Chinese companies from buying up American farmland. In doing so, they are putting our national security at risk and essentially handing China a win in strategic competition.
In Congress, we’re used to passionate, partisan debate. But national security often transcends our domestic divisions because many of us here understand that keeping Americans safe from threats abroad — from terrorism, from military aggression, and from the type of economic coercion we’re seeing from China — is too important to let partisan infighting tear us apart.
This is a crossroads moment for Johnson and his allies. We have the power to begin to take greater control of our economic future, but only if we hold the Chinese government accountable and stop them from stealing more of our technology and secrets. If Johnson continues to stand in the way of this bipartisan legislation, he’ll be aligning himself with President Xi Jinping, and against the interests of the American people.
Bob Casey is the senior senator from Pennsylvania and is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee.