Marco Rubio, Catherine Cortez Masto Take Aim at China in New Legislation

By: KEVIN DERBY – Sunshine State News

Towards the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., to unveil a proposal to hamper Chinese influence in the U.S.

Rubio and Cortez Masto brought out the “Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations Act.” The proposal would have the U.S. Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) create an interagency task force to examine how China attempts to influence the U.S. and key allies. Under the bill, the task force is called on to make a recommendation to the White House and Congress on whether to create a permanent office to monitor to China’s attempts to influence American politics.

On Thursday, Rubio made the case for his proposal.

“To effectively combat the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s political influence operations, we must better understand the full scope and breadth of their efforts,” Rubio said. “This bill, which requires an unclassified interagency report, aims to do just that, not only for policymakers, but for the American people, media, academia and other impacted sectors.”

“Given evidence of growing efforts by the Chinese government to undermine democratic institutions in the U.S. and abroad, it is incumbent on the United States government to protect our national security and our democracy from any foreign, political influence,” Cortez Masto said. “This bipartisan bill sets necessary requirements for the government to investigate and report on potential Chinese government influence, and allow the United States to create a strategy that will counter threats to our democracy.”

Rubio was able to round up some of the leading conservatives in the Senate to back his proposal with Republican U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas signing on as cosponsors. On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is also cosponsoring the bill.