by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House Republicans are pushing to seal the deal on a host of policies to withdraw vital American industries from China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The GOP-chartered House China Task Force issued a report on Wednesday that calls in part for Congress to enact the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act’s bevy of policies. Those policies, many of which have already passed the House, aim at reducing U.S. supply chain dependency on the Chinese Communist regime, which the report labeled a risk to American safety and prosperity.
“The next step is to get this NDAA, to get this defense bill—we sadly kicked the can on that to December—to get that over the finish line,” Rep. Michael Waltz (R., Fla.), who helped draft the report, told the Washington Free Beacon. “I think it has a number of very good provisions in there. I think that’s the most immediate legislative vehicle.”
Republicans have been pushing for supply chain repatriation since late March, when coronavirus-induced hoarding in China contributed to the United States’ struggle to provide adequate medical materiel to front-line doctors. The China Task Force’s recommendations signal that Republicans and some Democrats are still eager to pass reshoring measures through the act and other legislation in the next session.
The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission’s decision to unilaterally seize control of medical manufacturing and logistics “down to the factory level” made the need for supply chain repatriation clear, the report argues. The move allowed China to quintuple its production of protective masks, but also prohibited foreign companies from taking their medical products out of China—a major threat to western countries dependent on Chinese production to secure public health.