GOP Rep. Lance Gooden says it’s time for the Department of Justice to reestablish its Trump-era China initiative, and told Fox News Digital that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) only understands “tough and aggressive” messaging and policies from the U.S.
Gooden, R-Texas, introduced the Protect America’s Innovation and Economic Security from the CCP Act in the House of Representatives this week. His bill is the House version of legislation introduced in the Senate last month by GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida.
The legislation would reestablish the CCP Initiative Program in the Justice Department, which was started in 2018 under the Trump administration to protect U.S. national security against Chinese spying on U.S. intellectual property and in academia.
The program was aimed at “identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking, and economic espionage,” as well as “protecting our critical infrastructure against external threats through foreign direct investment and supply chain compromises.”
The Biden administration shut down the program in 2022 and replaced it with a broader effort aimed at countering “nation-state threats.”
The Biden administration was pressured to close the program last year by activists and academics who called it “racist and xenophobic” and said it was harming U.S. competitiveness in research and disproportionately targeting people based on race.
Gooden dismissed those arguments.
“We hear these cries of racism from the far left any time a Republican starts to ask questions that are uncomfortable,” he said. “I’m really sick of that and I think it is a tired argument for not doing enough to stand up to the CCP — I hope my colleagues will get on board and take this seriously.”
“Rather than crying racism, I would encourage people to get on board with standing up to the Chinese Communist Party because there are too many in Washington that are not,” Gooden said, adding that the “only language that [Chinese President] Xi and the Chinese Communist Party understands is tough and aggressive.”
“They do not respect weakness and that is why they are so engaged in our nation,” he continued. “That is why balloons are flying over our nation. That is why espionage is running rampant throughout our country.”
“I don’t have confidence in the president based on his actions. And I am hopeful that people in Washington will wake up and get tough and stand up to the CCP,” Gooden said.
Gooden said the initiative, if reestablished, would help to identify and prosecute people who identified as engaged in trade, hacking and espionage, specifically economic espionage.
Biden administration officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines have repeatedly warned that China poses the greatest threat to the national security of the U.S.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are also planning to continue to roll out legislation that would help strengthen U.S. policy with regard to China.
The U.S. intelligence community this week released its annual assessment, which states that the CCP will continue its efforts to make China the “preeminent power in East Asia and a major power on the world stage.”
Officials said Chinese President Xi Jinping will work in his third term to press Taiwan on unification and will seek to “undercut U.S. influence” by driving “wedges between Washington and its partners.”
“At the same time, China’s leaders probably will seek opportunities to reduce tensions with Washington when they believe it suits their interests,” the report said.
The intelligence community warned that Beijing is “increasingly” combining its growing military power with its economic, technological and diplomatic influence to “strengthen CCP rule, secure what it views as its sovereign territory and regional preeminence, and pursue global influence.”
The intelligence community warned that China is using “coordinated, whole-of-government tools” as it seeks to assert sovereignty over Taiwan. Officials warned that China may build on its actions from 2022, and include more Taiwan Strait centerline crossings or missile overflights of Taiwan.
It believes Beijing is “accelerating” the development of key capabilities that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) needs to “confront the United States in a large-scale, sustained conflict.” The PLA efforts are designed to “deter U.S. intervention in a future cross-Strait crisis,” officials said.
Officials also warned that Beijing is bolstering its domestic defense production capabilities for weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapons, and that China is building hundreds of new ICBM silos.