House Republicans are forming two committees to investigate two of their big priorities: government overreach and China. The select committees were approved Tuesday afternoon.
The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government
This panel will investigate how executive branch agencies, like the FBI, collect information on American citizens and how they take action against them. The committee is charged with determining whether anything the agencies do is illegal, unconstitutional or unethical.
Part of the investigation will focus on how the federal government works with private sector companies like Twitter. The “Twitter Files” revealed the company censored information at the behest of the FBI and other federal agencies.
The committee will also have the power to look into ongoing criminal investigations, which could lead to an impasse with the Justice Department that ultimately ends up in court. The Justice Department does not discuss, nor share information about ongoing matters.
The panel will be able to issue subpoenas through the House Judiciary Committee.
The Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party
This group will work to submit policy recommendations and investigate China’s economic, technological and security advancements. The committee also seeks to understand how that will impact competition with the United States.
“It would look at all aspects, from economics to COVID, and when we fell into COVID, not knowing whether we could have medical supplies because China controlled so much. We’ve since learned how they’re buying farmland and stealing our intellectual property,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, said during a speech before the vote.
McCarthy publicly pleaded for Democrats to join the effort and make the committee as bipartisan as possible. If the 365-65 vote to approve it is any indication, the committee will be strongly bipartisan.
“I’ve heard my colleagues on both sides say that the threat posed by Communist China is serious. I fully agree. This is an issue that transcends political parties. And creating the Select Committee on China is our best avenue for addressing it,” McCarthy said.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., hopes the committee will help hold China accountable for its human rights abuses. He said China has gotten away with wrongdoing for years while simultaneously becoming more powerful through its trade agreements with the United States.
“We have stood by as the Chinese embassy and the Ministry of State Security officials have harassed people of Chinese heritage and nationality living lawfully in the United States. We have not done all we can do for the people of Hong Kong, Tibet and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” Smith said during a speech on the House floor.
The group has to submit policy proposals by the end of the year.
Neither of these committees will last forever, they will automatically shut down with the end of this Congress in two years.