Coalition of Organizations Call on Pelosi to Allow Debate on China Bill


CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Director of Communications, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, 202.800.4662/ [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC — A group of 28 organizations today called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to support the effort by House Democrats to advance a more reasonable and balanced approach to competition with China, and to reject the dangerous approach put forward in the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S.1260).

A letter, signed by groups including the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Common Defense, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, asks that Pelosi ensure that China-related legislation brought to the floor has been considered in a manner that permits members to fully scrutinize the legislation, debate crucial issues, and offer amendments.

“Even as the U.S. responds to real issues of concern in Chinese behavior, it’s important for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation on the basis of clear facts and understandings, not on ideological rhetoric and worst case assumptions,” said Quincy Institute China expert Michael Swaine. “At this critical juncture in U.S.-China relations, the U.S. Congress needs to promote realistic, pragmatic approaches to China that can both protect our vital interests while advancing necessary cooperation and avoiding destructive cycles of escalation. By supporting the House as it fully considers legislation and rejecting the more extreme aspects of the Senate bill, Speaker Pelosi can help make that possible.”

The letter warns that Division C of the Senate China bill, also known as the “Strategic Competition Act,” contains multiple provisions that would needlessly escalate tension in East Asia. By pursuing excessive escalation and conflict, the bill would make it harder to deal with the many real issues of concern with the Chinese government, and would imperil vital cooperation on areas of mutual interest.

In contrast, the letter states, the EAGLE Act (H.R. 3524) advanced by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Gregory Meeks, while not perfect, takes a more balanced approach that does not include many of the most objectionable elements of the Senate bill. Especially given this difference, it is incredibly important that the House be allowed a full and open debate on China legislation.

“It’s unfortunate that the U.S. Senate can only find rare bipartisanship through inflammatory, adversarial, and counterproductive legislation toward China when a more balanced approach grounded in diplomacy would be far more successful in addressing concerns over China’s rise,” said Rahna Epting, Executive Director of MoveOn. “As the House considers national security legislation toward China, we call on Speaker Pelosi to facilitate a dynamic dialogue that would allow more reasonable proposals like that advanced by Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, to shape the final bill.”

“The legislation that Congress ultimately sends to the president has the potential to enshrine a new Cold War against the country with the largest economy and population in the world,” said Erik Sperling, executive director of the pro-diplomacy group Just Foreign Policy. “These policy choices should not be taken lightly and rushed through Congress. There should be a deliberate process that permits the American people and their representatives to study and weigh in on these crucial issues through an open process on the floor of the House.”

“The U.S.-China relationship is one of our most complex and consequential bilateral relationships. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of climate diplomacy, where the EAGLE Act includes strong provisions addressing the outsized role the U.S. and China play in addressing the climate crisis.  As the United States looks to reengage on the global stage after four years of withdrawal, it is critical that America’s diplomats have the tools and resources needed to engage with China where we can, but also confront China where we must. Foreign Policy for America commends Chairman Meeks for his leadership on this critical issue,” said Andrew Albertson, executive director of Foreign Policy for America.