Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 10, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in permitting me to speak on this.

Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor much encouraged, having heard the words of the Speaker and the chairman-designate, Mr. Gallagher.

I was one of those people 25 years ago who was part of the consensus that we could engage Communist China into the world economy. I had an opportunity to travel extensively, meeting with the Chinese leadership at that time. They were saying the right things. I think some of them were sincere. It was an encouraging opportunity.

But over the course of the last 20 years, it has taken a wrong turn. We have watched the Chinese play a cynical game. They have not lived up to their obligations under the WTO. We don't have a procurement provision, for example. We have watched repression increase, and we have watched this current regime in unprecedented ways exploit opportunities.

I have legislation to close the de minimis loophole that allows China to import 2 million packages a day, untaxed and uninspected, and Heaven only knows in terms of forced labor, in terms of illicit goods that are coming in here. I have had legislation to try to change that.

I think this select committee can be a forum to bring us together on a nonpartisan basis to take areas in which there is profound agreement, like closing the de minimis loophole.

I commend the Speaker and the leadership moving forward. I look forward to working with Democratic leadership on this, to use it as an opportunity to get us back on track, particularly given the insidious nature of the current regime's forced labor.

We have made great progress legislatively to give us more tools. I think there is a potential for this select committee to build on it and make more progress, and I look forward to working with them. I will support the proposal.