The House voted Tuesday to create new committees to investigate the “weaponization” of the federal government and US competition with China.
The resolution establishing the China select committee easily passed the House in a bipartisan manner, with 146 Democrats joining Republicans to pass the measure in a 365-65 vote.
The committee will focus on the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological and security advances, as well as strategic competition between Beijing and Washington.
The select committee will be headed by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and will be made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats who will hold public hearings and submit policy recommendations at the conclusion of its investigation.
“I’ve heard my colleagues on both sides say that the threat posed by Communist China is serious. I fully agree,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on the floor of the lower chamber Tuesday. “This is an issue that transcends political parties. And creating the select committee on China is our best avenue for addressing it.”
“We want the very best ideas, and it doesn’t matter where they come from. At the end of the day, we won’t need a minority and majority report. We’ll just need one philosophy, with one principle, and America will be stronger for the future to come,” he added.
In a far more divisive vote, the House also voted Tuesday to establish a new subcommittee on the “weaponization: of the federal government.”
The House voted 221-211 to establish the panel in a straight party-line vote.
The subcommittee will investigate how the federal government and private companies collect and analyze information on American and civil liberties issues, according to the resolution.
The subcommittee will be under the umbrella of the House Judiciary Committee and it is expected to be chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who leads the Judiciary Committee.
Jordan has long criticized the alleged politicization of the FBI and the Justice Department, accusing the agencies of targeting conservatives.
“This is about the First Amendment, something you guys used to care about. And I’d actually hoped we could get bipartisan agreement on protecting the First Amendment — the five rights we enjoy as Americans under the First Amendment,” Jordan said Tuesday as the House debated the measure.
“We don’t want to go after anyone, we just want it to stop. And we want to respect the First Amendment to the Constitution that the greatest country in the world has. That’s what this committee is all about, and that’s what we’re gonna focus on, that’s what we are going to do,” he added.
Democrats believe Republicans will use the powers of the new subcommittee to disrupt ongoing investigations into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol rito and former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.
“Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy claim to be investigating the weaponization of the federal government when, in fact, this new select committee is the weapon itself,” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “It is specifically designed to inject extremist politics into our justice system and shield the MAGA movement from the legal consequences of their actions.”
The committee is expected to be made up of nine Republicans and six Democrats appointed by McCarthy.