GOP leaders push bipartisan resolution about China balloon incursion
House GOP leaders are moving ahead with plans to pass a symbolic measure this week condemning a Chinese surveillance balloon. And it may even be bipartisan.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his deputies were in talks Monday with top Democrats about a bipartisan resolution to denounce the spy balloon that drifted across much of the nation last week.
“I think you could see that this week,” McCarthy told reporters, noting it would be focused on China. “I think our greatest strength is when we speak with one voice to China.”
House Republicans had previously discussed a resolution aimed squarely at President Joe Biden and his handling of the balloon — which POLITICO first reported — as they aimed to put it to a vote perhaps on Tuesday, the same day as his annual State of the Union.
But several members, including Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), privately lobbied GOP leaders to pivot toward a bipartisan censure of the Chinese spy tactics — a rare issue that both sides unite behind. Since then, the GOP’s draft has changed substantially, according to multiple Democrats, and may now receive agreement from across the aisle.
“My strong recommendation was … This is one of the things you want as a country to appear to be coming together. You don’t want a partisan resolution,” McCaul said. “I think that’s more important than our petty partisan politics.”
The Texas Republican has spoken not just to McCarthy: He’s also in conversations with his counterpart on the Foreign Affairs panel, Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.). He planned to review the language with Meeks later in the evening.
Meeks did not rule out possible Democratic cooperation, depending on the language of the measure — as well as its timing. Few Democrats were interested in a high-profile resolution to land the same day as Biden’s biggest address of the year. That now appears unlikely.
“We’re looking at it. They’ve got something, and there’s dialogue going on. So, we’ll see what happens,” Meeks said, adding that the final resolution could go through the House Armed Services Committee, instead of the Foreign Affairs panel. “Depends upon what it says. Depends upon what the timing is.”
McCarthy and his team are also in the process of setting up a briefing for all members on the Chinese balloon, according to three GOP lawmakers. That briefing is likely to be Thursday, the same day the Senate will receive its briefing, according to a leadership aide.
Lawmakers have also received some information to review in advance in the Capitol’s sensitive compartmented information facility.
Jordain Carney contributed to this report.
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