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New House majority getting Democrat buy-in on getting tough with China, top Republican says

House passed measure to ban sales of oil to China from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on 331-97 vote. "We got a majority of Democrats to vote for that bill," said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

Published: January 31, 2023 11:36am

Updated: February 2, 2023 11:36am

Republicans are using their new House majority to get tough with China, rallying bipartisan support to pass measures of a kind that wouldn't even come to a vote when the chamber was under Democratic control, says the body's second-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

"For two years, Pelosi wouldn't allow any bills to come to the floor to hold China accountable," Scalise said on "Rules that Run the Country," a new RAV special report hosted by Just the News and sponsored by Heritage Action for America. 

That was then.

Now, with majority control, Republicans "brought a bill," Scalise continued, "to say that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which President Biden has raided — more than 40% of our nation's reserve oil supply he's raided to mask his bad policies — and one of those sales went to China. And so we brought a bill to say, you know, if you raid [the SPR], you can't sell it to China."

The bill, H.R.22, or the Protecting America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act, passed the House and is waiting to be taken up by the Senate. Despite the GOP's slim majority in the chamber, the bill passed by a lopsided margin of 331-97.

"We got a majority of Democrats to vote for that bill," said Scalise. "And the Washington media was saying that that was going to be a partisan bill. Clearly not partisan. In fact, it's veto proof. Hopefully the Senate takes that up.

"Then we set up a special committee to look into the Chinese Communist Party's actions, both here in America and abroad, and finally start confronting the threat that China poses. And again, that was a very overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. Every Republican voted for it, but a majority of Democrats voted for it as well. And this is something that was off-limits, Pelosi wouldn't allow any oversight into China." 

Scalise has no illusions, however, about the prospects for gaining Democratic buy-in on the parts of the Republican oversight agenda that will subject the Biden administration and its political allies to searching new scrutiny.

"There are going to be other things," he said, "that for whatever reason, the Democrats are not on board with us yet, such as bringing in [Homeland Security] Secretary Mayorkas for questioning, looking into the origins of COVID, the school shutdowns where teachers unions were colluding with the White House to change the science to keep millions of kids shut out of school."

Another issue on which the two parties are on a collision course is federal spending and the national debt. With the government recently hitting the $31.38 trillion national debt limit, the Treasury Department is imposing "extraordinary measures" to pay the federal government's bills. The Democrats are demanding a "clean" debt ceiling bill without negotiations, while the GOP seeks to pair a vote to raise the debt limit with commensurate spending cuts. 

"The spending is out of control," Tennessee GOP Rep. Andy Ogles said on the special report. "We know the government is broken. So we've got to start thinking outside the box and get back to regular order, which means we're not spending money that we don't have."

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