EXCLUSIVE: GOP Rep. Lance Gooden is introducing a measure Tuesday that would reestablish the shuttered Trump-era “China Initiative” program in the Justice Department, Fox News Digital has learned.
Gooden, R-Texas, is rolling out the “Protect America’s Innovation and Economic Security from the CCP Act” in the House of Representatives— a companion bill to the legislation introduced in the Senate last month by GOOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida.
The legislation would re-establish the CCP Initiative Program in the Justice Department, which was started in 2018 under the Trump administration to protect U.S. national security against Chinese spying on U.S. intellectual property and in academia.
The program was aimed at “identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking, and economic espionage,” as well as “protecting our critical infrastructure against external threats through foreign direct investment and supply chain compromises.”
The Biden administration shut down the program last year, and instead, replaced it with a “broader approach” to counter “nation-state threats.”
“President Biden has once again put far-left activists ahead of our national security by canceling a DOJ program designed to prevent spying by the CCP on U.S. intellectual property and academic institutions,” Gooden told Fox News Digital. “This soft-on-China approach is emboldening the CCP, and Congress can no longer stand by while President Biden behaves like a puppet of Beijing.”
The Biden administration, at the time, was pressured to close the program by activists and academics who called it “racist and xenophobic” and said it was harming U.S. competitiveness in research and disproportionately targeting people based on race.
At the time of its closure, the Justice Department stressed that it would continue to be “relentless in defending our country from China.”
Biden administration officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines have repeatedly warned that China poses the greatest threat to the national security of the U.S.
And Republicans on Capitol Hill are also planning to continue to roll out legislation that would help strengthen U.S. policy with regard to China.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital last week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he intends to use the 118th Congress to set federal policy that gives President Biden a “backbone” and empowers him to tackle the China threat, and approve these measures on a bipartisan basis so Beijing understands “we mean business.”
“If we have the policymakers on board, we could send the president policy that will make him stronger and give him a stronger hand,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told Fox News Digital on his plans for China in an exclusive sit-down interview.
“I want to empower the president,” he continued. “If we are united in the House, it gives the president a stronger hand. In essence, the House can try to give him a backbone.”