The U.S. Senate has recently introduced, considered and advanced a number of China-related bills, and lawmakers from both parties have called for a complete strategy to increase U.S. strength to compete with Beijing on all fronts. Some Republican lawmakers have written that the United States must not ignore the threat posed by China to the United States; others have bluntly stated, “Losing this competition would be the shame of the century waiting for America.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a Republican U.S. senator from Utah, pitched a book in the Washington Post on Thursday (May 13) saying that the United States has now seen a warning that “China will replace the United States and that China is working to surpass the United States economically, militarily and geopolitically. “
Romney, who currently serves as the ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Asia-Pacific panel, has published pitches in various media outlets in recent months, targeting China as a theme and focusing on the competition between the U.S. and China.
In his latest piece Thursday, Romney spoke of the rapid growth of China’s economic hegemony as a result, in part, of its demographics: a larger country inevitably also has a much larger gross domestic product (GDP) because it has implemented effective economic principles, technology and education.
Romney says that over the past few decades, China has replaced capitalism with socialism, stolen technology and pushed for massive education. As of 2016, China has graduated eight times as many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (abbreviated as STEM) graduates per year as the United States.
Romney further states in the article that China also uses unfair competition such as massive subsidies, predatory pricing, raw material monopolies and trade route dominance to achieve its goal of growing economic power. At the same time, China has invested a large portion of the “financial spoils” it has earned in other areas of its hegemonic expansion plans. In other words, the scope of China’s leading military, economic, and geopolitical advantages are interlocking and expanding.
Romney went on to criticize the Biden administration for now only “nodding its head and looking away” in the face of China’s aggressive posture. “In President Biden’s most recent address to Congress, he spent only a few words on the threat posed by China before moving on to the next topic, promising to promote two years of free preschool and community college,” Romney said in the article.
Romney also called out U.S. policymakers, saying it’s still not too late to reverse the China dynamic.
“First, we must seek the ideas of the most experienced strategic experts. We must limit China’s economic depredations by working with allies and friends to stop China’s free access to our markets unless they can agree to abide by global fair trade rules,” Romney said.
He also called for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, thereby reducing the revenue available to them during the Games and blocking Chinese Communist Party propaganda content that exposes their human rights atrocities.
Rubio: This Is the Last Chance to Balance U.S.-China Relations
The arguments in Romney’s pitch largely echo those of fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) of Florida.
On Tuesday, Sen. Rubio, who is considered one of the most knowledgeable members of Congress on China issues, delivered a 12-minute speech on the Senate floor on the topic of how to confront China.
“The 21st century will be defined by the U.S.-China relationship, and frankly, I think this is the last chance we have to make sure that the U.S.-China relationship is balanced,” Rubio said in his floor speech.
He went on to say, “We don’t have time to push through another so-called ‘China bill,’ a hodgepodge of nothing more than half-assed measures and studies. Instead, what we need is a ‘China bill’ that actually makes sense.”
In his speech, Rubio stated that an effective strategic plan to counter China must be complete with six elements: increasing U.S. domestic investment in technology and research and development, countering aggressive Chinese military action, restoring fair global trade, defending the health care supply chain, protecting open and transparent capital markets, and banning forced labor products from entering the United States. Rubio’s speech emphasized that any China policy must address China’s genocidal behavior.
Bipartisan Leaders Call for Aggressive Response to Chinese Competition
Republicans are not the only ones in Congress who have repeatedly stressed the need to engage in full-scale competition with China. “There is clearly a bipartisan consensus to “confront and compete with China.
On Thursday morning, the Senate floor saw a rare sequence of speeches by leaders from both parties, all of which addressed a common keyword: China.
In his remarks, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he plans to bring the Endless Frontier Act, which passed the Commerce Committee the day before, to the floor next week for discussion.
“The Endless Frontier Act will right our wrongs, make the biggest investments in American innovation for generations to come, enable the United States to outcompete countries like China, create more good-paying jobs, and strengthen our economy and national security, because this bill is critical to both national security and economic security,” Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who spoke immediately after Schumer, also called on the Biden administration not to cut military spending to maintain U.S. competitiveness against China in his remarks.
“After we’ve just spent four years starting to rebuild and modernize our defense, this administration has said they plan to cut defense funding after inflation. Our military has fewer resources and fewer tools to compete with China,” McConnell said, “and they just want to see a race to the bottom year after year, but our adversaries and competition are planning years and decades ahead.”
McConnell quoted Bob Gates, secretary of defense during the Obama administration, who continued, “Cutting our military spending would be a terrible mistake.”
“There is no more dangerous course of action for the United States that would hurt the Pentagon and reduce American competitiveness.”
In his Tuesday floor speech, Rubio said he believes the United States is now finally waking up from its misperceptions and preconceptions about China. “But we almost came to our senses too late, and we don’t have time to be half-assed anymore,” Rubio said.
In this era of the U.S.-China race, he said, the United States must once again prove that democracy works and that the U.S. system of government works and can solve big problems with a big approach.
“If we succeed, and I believe we will, then the future will be a new American century,” Rubio said, “but if we fail, it’s the shame of the century that awaits us up front.”