THE CAPITOL HILL
Congress holds hearings to discuss the administration’s China strategy.
On Tuesday (May 16), representatives from the Biden administration’s defence, foreign affairs, and economic and trade cabinets gathered on Capitol Hill to answer questions from lawmakers regarding US foreign policy towards China. They also urged Congress to pass the government budget before the deadline because any budget cuts would seriously harm the US’s ability to compete internationally. A Biden administration cabinet member reportedly disclosed that “the United States will soon provide significantly additional security assistance to Taiwan.”
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee were Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. He provided Congress with an online briefing on how the Biden administration intends to use funding to address China’s issues in a variety of areas, including defence, foreign policy, and the economy.
Defence Secretary Austin underlined his caution in his opening remarks at the hearing, saying that China is the only adversary the US faces with the purpose and developing ability to try to restructure the international order to suit its authoritarian tastes.
“Beijing’s bullying and provocative behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region has become more frequent, and they have launched a large-scale military build-up, including in the space and cyber domains,” Austin claimed. Although war is not imminent nor unavoidable, we must deal with China’s rising aggression. Austin claimed that the Biden administration considerably raised military spending in the Indo-Pacific region in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and that funding for the “Pacific Deterrence Initiatives (PDI) has increased by 40% to a record high of US$9.1 billion.assertiveness.”
Additionally, Austin stated that “through the presidential drawdown authority (PDA), authorised by Congress last year, the United States will shortly provide Taiwan with materially additional security assistance.” But Austin didn’t go into any more depth about the specifics. He simply stated that the action was a part of a long-term commitment by the United States to carry out other U.S. policies and execute its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act.
Austin stated, “We must continue to be a dependable partner and do our share to ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who posed the question, received an answer from Austin that the “presidential extraction power” granted by Congress was crucial to American attempts to assist Taiwan in strengthening its defence capabilities. Austin reiterated that the US will offer Taiwan a fresh round of security aid, saying “We are working hard to promote a plan, and we hope that there will be some progress in the near future.”
In a manner similar to Ukraine, it was earlier this month reported that the Biden administration was planning to utilise the authorised “presidential withdrawal authority” to remove $500 million in weapons and support equipment from current U.S. stockpiles. Taiwan received delivery. According to Bloomberg, this might happen as soon as this week. The proposed aid package is the first of the $1 billion in military aid that Congress has authorised to be given to Taiwan as part of the 2023 budget under the “presidential withdrawal authority.”
This authorization enables the president to access existing U.S. stockpiles without requesting congressional consent in the event of a national emergency. This will hasten the provision of security support. In this fashion, the US has given Ukraine more than 30 military aids.
Republicans in Congress and the Biden administration are currently in regular communication on raising the debt ceiling. The current limit on US debt is $31.4 trillion. In order to prevent future government spending increases, Biden emphasised that Congress must raise the debt ceiling, not make it a requirement beforehand. The U.S. government won’t be able to meet its current debt service obligations without increasing the debt ceiling.
McCarthy and House Republicans have demanded spending reductions in the future in exchange for an annual increase in the debt ceiling. In a hearing on Tuesday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray condemned the Republican plan to reduce federal spending in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling.
“Let’s be clear: China does not contemplate destroying its economy or paying off its debts. The Democrat from Washington state stated that China “does not argue whether to invest in their future or cut and limit the investments that keep them competitive. remarked Senator Murray. Republicans in Congress contend that US government spending is currently at an unsustainable level and that failing to reduce the deficit will jeopardise the long-term viability of the US economy.
The US’s advantage in competing with China will be seriously harmed, Secretary of Defence Austin said, due to the uncertain government funding process in Congress, which includes years of failure to enact annual spending bills on time. A budget cut would make it harder for the United States to compete with China’s expanding military might, the Pentagon chief added. “Even if the Department of Defence budget is not cut, lowering the budgets of the rest of the government to (fiscal) levels of 2022 will hurt our ability to compete,” Austin told the committee. Only when our partners succeed will the Department of Defence succeed.
U.S. defence and foreign policy leaders: unafraid of competition but not seeking conflict with China
Dealing with China’s issues is seen as the biggest point of agreement between the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress in the current Washington political climate of hostility. Cross-party politicians have claimed that the Chinese Communist Party is the largest threat the United States faces in the twenty-first century since the beginning of the current Congress.
The Biden administration’s officials in diplomacy, defence, economics, and trade repeated the congressmen’s views and concurred on the significance of developing unified plans to confront China. At the hearing, Commerce Secretary Raimondo stated that the US is adopting an unusually tough stance to prevent China from acquiring cutting-edge technology for military development and human rights abuses.
At the hearing, Commerce Secretary Raimondo stated that the US is adopting an unusually tough stance to prevent China from acquiring cutting-edge technology for military development and human rights abuses.
“We’ve never used our department’s resources to combat the threat from China so vigorously. Reiterating what I just said, President Biden’s Department of Commerce is dealing with China using all available means; this has never been the case in the prior few years.Positive,” declared Raimondo.
She continued by claiming that the Biden administration strategically used export regulations to limit China’s access to cutting-edge technology.
“The Bureau of Industry and Security is preventing China from using U.S. technology to modernise its military and violate human rights, among other activities that are inconsistent with U.S. national and foreign policy interests,” Raimondo claimed during the hearing. There are currently more than 2,400 firms on the Entity List that are subject to export control limitations, with the top two being Chinese and Russian entities, according to the Commerce Department.
United States must manage its relations with China carefully
The United States must manage its relations with China carefully, but Secretary of State Blinken did not support decoupling from China. In fact, the United States continues to maintain a complete trade and investment relationship with China, as do the majority of our allies and partners, according to Blinken. “We’re not seeking a conflict or a new Cold War with China, and we’re not trying to contain China,” he added. But rather than decoupling, we firmly believe in derisking and diversification.
This entails making investments in supply chains that are reliable and secure, advocating for a level playing field for our businesses and employees, opposing unfair trade practises, and making sure that U.S. and allied technology is not used against us.
“We will consciously engage with China in ways that reflect our values, are consistent with the interests of the United States and China as a whole, and can lead to areas of collaboration rather than just engaging for the sake of engaging or for the goal of engaging in itself. China is depending on the rest of the globe for this. the demands of large powers,” remarked Blinken.
The United States does not seek confrontation, conflict, or a new Cold War with China, Austin said, echoing Blinken, “but the United States has never been afraid of competition.” We used the word “challenge” carefully when referring to China in our National Defence Strategy, Austin remarked.
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Chuck Schumer) announced at a news conference that a new wave of legislative initiatives will be introduced in the coming months with the aim of enhancing US national security and competing with China on the international stage.
When and when this wave of legislative proposals will be implemented are still up in the air.