The House of Representatives on Feb. 9 overwhelmingly agreed to a resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) use of a spy balloon over the United States.
The measure, introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), passed on a 419–0 vote.
H. Res. 104 decries “the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over United States territory as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty.”
“The Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence collection directed against the United States poses a threat to United States interests and security,” McCaul wrote in the measure.
Congress “condemns the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China’s] brazen violation of United States sovereignty [and] denounces the CCP’s efforts to deceive the international community through false claims about its intelligence collection campaigns in violation of United States sovereignty,” the resolution continues.
McCaul called the balloon “a test” of the administration during a speech on the House floor.
“The balloon, I believe, is a test, a test of this administration, to see how it would respond,” he said.
“I believe the President should have shot it down before it entered American airspace rather than allow it to cross over the continental United States airspace. But make no mistake, this was another intentionally provocative act by the CCP, and as I said often, weakness invites aggression.
“This act will only further embolden and empower our enemies. It will embolden and empower Chairman Xi. I’ve never seen a foreign nation adversary fly a reconnaissance aircraft that you could see from the ground with your own eyes.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also took to the floor to give his endorsement of the measure, connecting it to another planned vote on a bill to overrule a bill by the District of Columbia City Council that would allow illegal aliens living in the District of Columbia to vote. The voting rights bill was overturned by a 260–173 vote.
“The CCP is already infiltrating our culture, our farmland, our skies, but the D.C. city council will let them infiltrate our ballot boxes,” McCarthy said. “Just today, we had a classified briefing for all the members of Congress talking about what they just did last week over the skies of America. And now the D.C. city council wants to open up the ballot boxes for the CCP.”
Americans first learned of the spy craft days after military intelligence had learned of it.
“The United States Government has detected and is tracking a high altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now,” the Pentagon told the nation in a Feb. 2 statement.
“The U.S. government, to include NORAD, continues to track and monitor it closely,” the statement continued. “The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information.”
Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder insisted during a Feb. 3 press conference that the balloon, which he said was at the time moving eastward across the central United States, “does not pose a physical or military risk to people on the ground.”
McCaul, noting how the Chinese balloon had traveled over sensitive military sites, including the Maelstrom Air Force Base in Montana that stores one of three nuclear U.S. missile silos, said in a statement to The Epoch Times that the resolution sends “a clear, bipartisan message to the CCP and to our adversaries around the world that this kind of aggression will not be tolerated.”
“It tells the world, in one united voice, that our national security is not a partisan issue. We stand together today with one voice as Americans.”
The same day, CCP Competition Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) issued a statement decrying the Pentagon’s response to the threat.
The statement was posted to Gallagher’s website.
In their Feb. 2 statement, the two lawmakers echoed McCaul’s resolution.
“The Chinese Communist Party should not have on-demand access to American airspace,” they wrote.
“Not only is this a violation of American sovereignty, coming only days before Secretary [Antony] Blinken’s trip to the [People’s Republic of China], but it also makes clear that the CCP’s recent diplomatic overtures do not represent a substantive change in policy. Indeed, this incident demonstrates that the CCP threat is not confined to distant shores—it is here at home and we must act to counter this threat.”
Blinken later announced he would cancel the trip because of the incident.
Madalina Vasiliu and Eva Fu contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times