ICYMI: Senate Appropriations Hearing Makes Clear: Undercutting American Investments Forfeits Future to China

ICYMI: As Competition with China Intensifies, Senator Murray Makes Clear: America Cannot Stay Ahead Unless Our Investments Keep Pace – MORE HERE


ICYMI: Murray and Collins Plan to Begin Bipartisan Senate Appropriations Markups in June – MORE HERE


(Washington, D.C.) – In case you missed it: earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee met for a full committee hearing with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to examine President Biden’s FY24 Budget Request in the context of the U.S.-China relationship and discuss the investments needed in the upcoming fiscal year to strengthen America’s security and competitiveness and stay ahead of global competitors like China.


During the hearing, top Senate appropriators discussed the investments needed in next year’s funding bills to ensure the U.S. has the tools and resources it needs to remain secure, competitive, and strong as competitors like China redouble their investments, seek to outcompete us, and threaten global security. Senate Appropriators spoke with Secretaries Austin, Blinken, and Raimondo about the continued investments we must make to stay ahead. The secretaries discussed what failing to provide consistent, on-time appropriations—or cutting funding—would mean for their respective departments’ abilities to support national efforts to stay ahead of China. The secretaries warned of how funding cuts and continuing resolutions would imperil their departments work to ensure America remains safe, strong, and on the cutting edge.


Chair Murray and Vice Chair Collins reiterated their commitment to strengthening our nation’s competitiveness and security with bipartisan funding bills—and with markups beginning in June.


Here are some highlights from the hearing:


Secretary Austin: “The best way that Congress can ensure our strategic advantage is with an on-time appropriation that supports the President’s Budget Request. No amount of money can buy back the time that we lose when we’re forced to operate under continuing resolutions. And reducing funding to FY22 levels across the government would hamstring our ability to compete even if the Defense Department is exempted from cuts. We succeed as a team and a Department of Defense succeeds when our interagency partners succeed. We’re not just shaping our military but America’s entire strategy to compete and lead.”


Secretary Blinken: “China represents the most consequential geopolitical challenge that we face today, a country with the intent and increasingly the capability to challenge our vision for a free, open, secure and prosperous international order. We cannot dictate Beijing’s path. We cannot wait for China to change its trajectory. But we can put ourselves in a position of strength to compete intensely to shape the broader strategic environment around China and to advance our vision.”


Secretary Raimondo: “China is doubling down on its competition with the U.S. and investments, and we cannot afford to slow down now.”


Chair Murray: “The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t govern by CRs and they don’t govern by cuts, and we can’t either….If we want to stay competitive, if we want to stay ahead, we have to stay the course and build on our investments.”


Vice Chair Collins: “To be clear, China’s vision is to be the world’s military and economic powerhouse, and it is well on its way.”


Reuters: “Three of U.S. President Joe Biden’s top aides warned on Tuesday that budget cuts would undermine the country’s ability to compete militarily, diplomatically and economically with China, a rare joint appearance in Congress underscoring Washington’s focus on competing with the Asian power.”


Newsweek: Biden's Cabinet Says Debt Ceiling Crisis Plays into Hands of China


“China is not debating whether to pay its debts or wreck its economy,” Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said during a hearing today. “The more we play with default, punt investments, and teeter on the edge of government shutdowns, the more we prove China and our competitors are right—and helping them show the world that it is their moment to overshadow our leadership, and helping them demonstrate their core belief that totalitarianism is stronger than democratic values.”


Murray's comments came in a hearing that featured Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, all of whom pointed to areas where the U.S. is falling or will fall behind China without additional investment, who told Congress that the U.S. must invest in its economy, military, and diplomatic efforts.


Stars and Stripes: Congressional standoffs over budgets, debt ceiling hurt US effort to deter China, Austin says


Austin warned Congress’ unpredictable government funding process, including its years-long inability to pass annual spending bills on time, will undermine the edge the U.S. still maintains over China. It will delay the ability of the U.S. to obtain munitions such as guided rocket systems and submarine torpedoes for itself as well as its allies, he said.


“No amount of money can buy back the time that we lose,” he said.


Austin detailed China’s sharp rise in military and economic dominance on Tuesday alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who said China presents the largest challenge facing the United States.


CQ Roll Call: Raimondo sees GOP cuts ‘crushing’ controls on exports to China


The office in charge of ensuring that sensitive U.S. technologies don’t end up in the hands of the Chinese military or other countries the U.S. views as antagonistic would see a significant loss in personnel if Republicans achieve their spending cut objectives for the coming fiscal year, Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said Tuesday.


The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, which administers and enforces export control regulations, would see a loss of some 125 personnel if funding is cut by 22 percent, Raimondo said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee examining the Biden administration’s fiscal 2024 budget request as it relates to efforts to counter China.


“Last year, we did 11,000 end-use checks in 54 countries, the vast majority related to China,” Raimondo said. “With 125 fewer people, we would not be able to do all we do and U.S. technology would get into the hands of malign actors in China.” 


Inside U.S. Trade: Senate appropriators: Budgeting by CR gives China an edge over the U.S.


Senator Coons: “Xi Jinping has assessed the United States as a flawed and failing political and economic system. Nothing we could do would reinforce that impression more than defaulting on our national debt or failing to appropriate.”


Senator Moran: “The RAND Corporation recently testified that for each three of the aviation categories, military, commercial, in general, the United States is ahead of China and competitive with or better than the rest of the world. However, and I quote, China continues to close the gap with the United States.”


Senator Tester: “[I]f we don’t get our act together, [a continuing resolution] exactly where we’re headed. That doesn’t make us stronger, that makes China stronger.”


Senator Baldwin: “In this coming fiscal year, Congress needs to deliver additional funding for the program to help ensure U.S. global, economic and technological leadership—and the only way we can get this done is by passing robust bipartisan appropriations bills.”


Senator Graham: “A CR would be disastrous.”


Senator Peters: “If the U.S. is going to be a leader in the future of the automotive industry, we have to find ways to not only develop autonomous vehicle technology here in America, but we actually have to manufacture it here in America and deploy it in our country as well. That’s why I’ve worked on legislation to ensure that America can manufacture this cutting-edge technology, so we don’t lose the race with China. China is investing massive amounts of money in this technology, and they believe this technology represents in some ways the moonshot for artificial intelligence because of the complexity of it. And I don’t want to be in a position where we’re playing catch up for years.”


Senator Manchin: “When I go to another country, I say when things get tough, man, you’ve got to depend on someone. It’s going to be the U.S….We can have all the military might in the world, and we have to be able to be competitive. But with that and having our allies that are willing to rally behind us and fight for us, to me, that means almost everything and I said that makes us different. And as long as we do that and continue that aid, and I think you all showed a little bit of a budget increase—about $3 billion—but it’s money well invested. We’re not spending it. We’re investing it.”