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Rep. Ayanna Pressley opposes committee on China because it would ’embolden anti-Asian hate’

ayanna pressley
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    Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D, MA-7) said she voted against establishing a bipartisan committee that would examine and address the competition between the United States and China as it would “put lives at risk.”

    Pressley, one of the 65-Democrat minority who voted against House Resolution 11 for the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), made her comments in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlin Collins on Thursday, two days after it passed with a 365-65 vote. 

    I voted no because, again, it’s another sham effort here, it’s really clear that this is just a committee that would further embolden anti-Asian rhetoric and hate and put lives at risk,” Pressley, a member of the progressive group called “The Squad,” said.

    She added that the U.S. government has “enough infrastructure in governance to tackle those issues and we don’t need the select committee. And that is why I voted no, because I am afraid that it will embolden anti-Asian rhetoric and hate.”

    In a statement released by Pressley’s office on Wednesday, Pressley and 22 other House progressives urged other officials to ensure that “strong Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and pro-diplomacy voices are clearly reflected in the membership when it is constituted.”

    Among the members who signed the statement include Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07), Rep. Mark Takano (D, CA-39) and Rep. Jill Tokuda (D, HI-02).

    Chaired by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R, WI-8), the select committee’s sole authority is to investigate and submit policy recommendations on the status of the CCP’s economic, technological and security progress and its competition with the U.S., as read in the bill.

    Addressing House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R, TX-10) in a statement, Gallagher said he would continue the Texas representative’s work exposing potential threats from the Chinese government.

    Chairman Michael McCaul has led the caucus when it comes to exposing the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, and the Select Committee on the CCP will build upon the foundation of his work on the China Task Force. I look forward to working closely with Chairman McCaul and the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the coming years to counter the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.

    While Rep. Jim McGovern (D, MA-2), the House Rules Committee’s top Democrat, expressed concerns over the newly established committee, such as the potential rise in discrimination, he eventually voted “yes” after reading the resolution. A total of 146 Democrats supported the Republican-led committee.

    While I do have concerns here, after reading the resolution itself, I will be voting ‘yes.’ The Democratic Party has led the way in implementing efforts to monitor China’s compliance with international human rights and rule of law standards, and we will continue to do so here.

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