House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries received unexpectedly positive feedback after announcing the Democratic members he would be appointing to the select committee investigating the threat posed by China: Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not appoint any “fire-breathers” looking to score political points, which pleased Democrats like Gallagher and was a priority for McCarthy.
According to Gallagher’s interview with CNN, Jeffries realised that the committee wouldn’t be used for partisan bombast after seeing the people Speaker McCarthy appointed. Currently, there may be genuine points of contention regarding the issues. Democrats and Republicans disagree on many issues related to China, but I believe that, in general, everyone is trying to row in the same direction.
Illinois Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the panel’s top Democrat, told CNN, “I think we don’t have a choice” when it comes to adopting a bipartisan stance. Because the dangers we face are so great that our enemies would relish seeing us at war with one another. So, I believe we need to step up to the challenge and work together with a clear sense of mission to remember that we are all responsible for protecting the United States from external threats and keeping it secure from within.
However, the committee’s ability to work together is being tested by the recent Chinese spy balloon saga, so a congressional Kumbaya may be easier said than done. For some Democrats, it was infuriating to see Republicans condemn Vice President Joe Biden as “weak” on China before Congress had even been briefed on the situation. Some Republicans even demanded that Biden resign.
Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California, a panel member, told CNN, “I think it’s unfortunate that, for example, Republicans have gone on television criticising our military and our President for not shooting down the balloon sooner.” I pray that the committee’s discussions don’t become as divisive as those we witnessed on cable news over the weekend.
After a suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over Montana, the issue of Chinese spy tactics was thrust into the spotlight in the United States, and members of the select committee are still holding out hope that they will be able to embody a bipartisan relationship in their investigation of the strategic competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. In contrast to the hyper-partisan investigations already launched by House Republicans and the tit-for-tat between the two parties over committee assignments, the new panel has adopted a decidedly civil tone.
In response to the suspected Chinese spy balloon, Representatives Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi issued a rare joint statement for this Congress on the weekend. According to Gallagher, a more fiery response could have been achieved through individual statements, but they decided that a joint statement would be more effective.
Republican South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson said on CNN, “I think America got a pretty good look at how this committee will attempt to do its work because of the joint statement.” They united early on in a way that was unmistakably bipartisan. Our shared understanding that our work should be strongly bipartisan and comprehensive is greatly enhanced by this.
However, not everyone is yet convinced by Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi’s joint statement. At least one select committee member was not convinced.
The joint statement “really set off some alarm bells for me in terms of how this is going to move,” said Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey on the committee. What we’ve seen over the past few days is a situation in which the select committee’s leadership “shoots from the hip” without sufficient information about the balloon’s status and declares that the situation is “declarative” in terms of a solution.