House bill

New House bill aims to bolster US government expertise on China

A bipartisan bill introduced Friday would require the State Department to hire more people with China-related expertise.

The big picture: The bill calls on the U.S. government to “further invest in relevant linguistic, cultural, and regional expertise to effectively engage in strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China.”

Details: Rep. Ami Bera (D-Ca) and Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky), members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, co-sponsored the Expand eXpertise in China Education and Language Act (EXCEL Act).

  • The bill directs the Secretary of State to appoint at least 31 candidates with Chinese language skills and areas of expertise to positions in the competitive service.
  • It also creates a bipartisan Strategic Advisory Council for China, made up of members nominated by the Democrats, Republicans and the Secretary of State, to oversee the training and recruitment of personnel with expertise related to US strategy in Indo. -Peaceful.
  • The bill directs the Comptroller General to conduct a staff study of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development and identify staffing gaps in the Indo-Pacific region.

What they say : “If we are to surpass China and win the geostrategic competition of the 21st century, we need a much better understanding of the country’s language, history and institutions, and the goals they seek to advance. in the Indo-Pacific region,” Bera said in a statement.

  • “It is a national and economic security imperative that we prioritize Chinese language and cultural skills over the long term,” Bera added.
  • “Part of the deterrence of the Chinese Communist Party is knowing about the Chinese Communist Party. America did it well during the Cold War, and that effort was essential in winning freedom over communism,” Barr said in a statement. “It’s time to double down on that strategy.”

The context: There is strong bipartisan support in Congress for increasing US competitiveness against China.

  • Congress has just passed the long-awaited CHIPS Act, which provides $280 billion to support scientific research and domestic production of semiconductors, two items deemed essential to help the United States keep pace with rapid technological advances in the China.