Michigan Republican to Lead House China Panel After Gallagher’s Exit

Eva Fu
By Eva Fu
March 25, 2024Congress
Michigan Republican to Lead House China Panel After Gallagher’s Exit
Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) speaks during hearings on President Donald Trump's first budget on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 28, 2017. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Michigan Republican Rep. John Moolenaar will take over the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party after the early retirement of the panel’s chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) next month.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), in a March 25 statement announcing the appointment, said Mr. Moolenaar will be an “exceptional chairman” for the committee.

“His leadership experience in the private and public sectors, his academic background, and his principled service in Congress have earned John the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” the Speaker said. “Our country, our economy, and our national security will be well-served by his wisdom and guidance in the ongoing work of this critical select committee.”

While the select committee has no legislative power, the panel has been an influential channel for lawmakers to highlight economic and national security challenges stemming from China’s ruling communist party and propose policy recommendations.

The committee had considerable influence over the recent House bill that aims to force the China-controlled TikTok to give up its China-based ownership or face a ban from U.S. app stores and hosting services. The bill passed the House 352–65 on March 13.

Mr. Moolenaar in his statement said he looks forward to working with the committee’s ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) to help the United States “win the competition against the CCP.”

He described Mr. Gallagher as “an incredible leader for our country” who had been “instrumental in creating the Select Committee.”

Mr. Gallagher on March 22 announced he will depart Congress early. He didn’t cite the reason for his decision and attributed it to conversations with his family.

NTD Photo
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) speaks to members of the press after a members-only classified briefing on TikTok at the Capitol Visitor Center on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 12, 2024. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

His departure on April 19, and that of Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) on March 22, will leave the GOP with 217 seats, affording them only a one vote lead to pass bills on any party-line vote.

Mr. Moolenaar, 62, began his first House term in 2015. In February this year, he was part of a bipartisan congressional delegation to Taiwan alongside Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Krishnamoorthi.

Aside from the legislation on TikTok, Mr. Moolenaar has supported measures to ban farmland sales to China, impose sanctions on Chinese companies in the defense and surveillance technology sectors, and deny green energy tax credits to companies linked to China.

“I think some of this is playing right into China’s hands where they are dominant in battery technology,” Mr. Moolenaar previously told The Epoch Times’s sister media NTD of certain U.S. policies. “They have been strategic about the rare earth minerals that are needed. And we’re playing on their field because of this rush to electrification.”

He said at the time that he saw considerable risks in partnering with the CCP in any way.

How the Chinese regime “stonewalled with respect to COVID” and set up police stations in New York to “intimidate dissidents of the Chinese Communist Party” show that “they’re very active in this country,” he said of the CCP. “And we need to be vigilant and protect our national security.”

Mr. Moolenaar also sits on the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, which has oversight over bills for federal spending programs, and is a member of the subcommittees on agriculture as well as labor and health. The chair of the appropriations committee, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), also announced her plan to step down early on Friday.

Mr. Gallagher said he expected Mr. Moolenaar to be “an incredible leader” of the House China committee.

“John understands the grave military, economic, and ideological threat posed by the CCP and will continue to advance an agenda that will best position our country to fight and win the strategic competition between the United States and our nation’s foremost adversary, the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

Created just over a year ago, the committee under Mr. Gallagher has tapped into the bipartisan support from elected members of Congress to address the threats from Beijing, conducting field hearings, press conferences, and investigations to highlight issues such as the CCP’s military aggression, trade theft, transnational repression, and its covert influence operations on U.S. soil.

From The Epoch Times

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