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Friday, March 3, 2023

One Bipartisan Committee

Dana Milbank at WP:
Ask Mike Gallagher. The Wisconsin Republican has been put in charge of the new House select committee on the Chinese Communist Party — and the chairman so far is turning his panel into everything the covid committee isn’t: bipartisan, serious and productive.

“This is an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century, and the most fundamental freedoms are at stake,” he said in opening the panel’s prime-time hearing Tuesday — the same day the covid committee held its frivolous forum. “Time is not on our side. Just because this Congress is divided, we cannot afford to waste the next two years lingering in legislative limbo or pandering to the press.”

He took no partisan shots, and he screened “a joint video that the ranking member and I put together to help set the stage for the hearing.” That ranking Democrat, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.), reciprocated by acknowledging that “both Democrats and Republicans underestimated the CCP” and praising the bipartisanship and “our unity as Americans.”

The witnesses (including two former Trump advisers) and other lawmakers maintained the feel-good sentiment, what Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) described as “Republicans and Democrats working together to expose the malign activities of the CCP.”

The only dissent in the room came from a pair of hecklers from the far-left group Code Pink, waving signs that said “China is not our enemy” and “Stop Asian Hate.”

Gallagher waited patiently for them to be removed. “Your sign is upside down,” he told the “Stop Asian Hate” guy, who then righted his poster.

A couple of the Democrats obliquely referenced the racist remarks of Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), who (on Fox News, naturally) challenged the loyalty to the United States of Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who is Chinese American. But Gallagher had already called that “out of bounds” during a joint interview with Krishnamoorthi on CBS’s “Face the Nation” — one of multiple joint appearances and statements by the pair.

Gallagher is exactly the sort of person you’d want in the role as China’s growing aggression pushes us toward a new cold war. A 39-year-old Princeton graduate and former Marine captain with a PhD in international relations, he noted with satisfaction this week that his panel has “no bomb throwers.”

Gallagher, by Krishnamoorthi’s account, worked closely with Democrats to draft a rules package that will guide the panel over the next two years — “a bipartisan agreement that has my full support.” It passed Tuesday without debate, amendment, or a single dissenting vote.

That’s what happens when a leader puts country before party.