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Rogers: Getting China out of our business once and for all

China is the most devious and all-encompassing threat facing the United States today. With communist China’s influence throughout the world being so pervasive, the defense of our great nation is not to be compromised or shortchanged in any way.

There is no second place when it comes to a fight for our freedom. If we were to get in a war, we must not only win but make sure our enemies don’t even stand a chance.

That effort starts in Congress with the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It will take a multi-year effort to invest in our national defense to outpace China while also dealing with all the other threats we face around the world. Though some Democrats in Congress prefer to argue about social issues in the military, as the Republican leader on the House Armed Services Committee, I will always put the defense of our nation first.

It is important to understand that the threat from the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) includes a broad range of adverse actions that target almost every facet of our economy. Decades of bad trade deals made under the false belief that incorporating China into the global economy would make them less of a threat have failed miserably. Instead, China used them as an opportunity to infiltrate and take over key portions of the American economy and supply chain.

China now dominates much of the world’s manufacturing and financial sectors. China has embedded itself so deeply in our economy that everything from major sports leagues, to the entertainment industry, to some of the largest American manufacturing giants kowtow to China. Let’s make some things clear, China steals intellectual property, manipulates financial markets for gain, commits grave human rights abuses, and utilizes slave labor. Short-term profits are not worth the long-term harm that the CCP will cause.

In 2017, President Trump began the process of detangling the complex web of Chinese infiltration in our economy. Through his get-tough approach, we began to make progress. President Trump’s America First policies were making an impact and then the global pandemic hit.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw China continue its usual campaign of deception. While the pandemic began in China under highly questionable origins, the CCP has continued their manipulation of the global markets and supply chain for their own gain. Unfortunately, the new Biden administration has abandoned President Trump’s tough policies and the Chinese Communist threat continues to lurch forward practically unabated.

In addition, the CCP is rapidly modernizing its military capacity and becoming more aggressive militarily throughout the world. Currently, China has the largest Navy and Army on the planet. The CCP has also begun matching us with advancements in emerging technologies and weapon systems – we saw that last year with their test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile. We’ve also seen China use its military to push out its borders and gain footholds on new continents.

Fortunately, the fiscal year 2022 (FY) National Defense Authorization Act is laser focused on preparing our military to deter, and if necessary, prevail in conflict with China. The FY22 NDAA increases funding by over $25 billion from what the Biden Administration proposed. This will go for new ships, submarines, hypersonic weapons, and space systems capable of crippling and defeating our enemies. With many of these weapon systems, defense companies in Alabama lead the way.

Our supply chain is one of the most critical areas that we must protect from Chinese manipulation. I was proud to champion provisions in the FY22 NDAA to remove China from our defense supply chain. The bill prohibits DoD purchases of goods from Chinese forced labor camps and from acquiring personal protective equipment from China. It requires the DoD to prioritize domestic production of critical minerals and pharmaceuticals and requires the DoD to map its supply chain to identify and mitigate risks from foreign interference. It is unacceptable that the CCP could be involved in any parts of our critical defense supply chains. The NDAA further closes the door on China’s efforts to infiltrate our national security.

But more work is to be done. This year I will continue to lead our efforts to build and maintain the greatest military of Earth and to get China out of our business once and for all.

Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) serves in the United States House of Representatives, where he is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee