WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, today joined Mornings with Maria on Fox Business to discuss Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to China, the Biden Administration’s lack of strength against the Chinese Communist Party, and debt ceiling negotiations.
Hagerty on what Secretary Blinken should address on his upcoming China trip: “I certainly wish Secretary [Antony] Blinken the best. He’s got some major challenges ahead of him, though. What I hope he’ll be talking about is China’s military aggression—the fact that they have been sending war planes into Taiwan’s airspace. They’ve been supporting Russia and its war in Ukraine. They’ve been violating sanctions there. They continue to ramp up their aggressive posture everywhere they possibly can. From an economic standpoint, their economic aggression continues. They’re subsidizing their companies. They’re stealing intellectual property. All of this needs to be brought up. But what I’m hearing is that they’re going to be talking about climate change. They’re going to be talking about cooperation on world health. Look, China’s got the worst track record of anyone on world health. You think about the lack of transparency on the origins of the coronavirus that emanated from Wuhan. You think about what they’re doing every day in terms of pumping fentanyl into America through Mexico, partnering with these Mexican cartels to kill American people. It’s laughable when you think about what their contributions might be to that. And if you think about the discussion on climate, you’ve got the United States that re-enters the Paris Climate Accord, even though the major signatories have done nothing to meet their obligations. We’ve got nothing for that except we handed over another great opportunity to China, who continues to build more coal fire plants, who continues to become the largest polluter in the world, and we make ourselves disadvantaged. We take a war on our own domestic energy production, disadvantaging ourselves, and handing the advantage over to China that’s trying to seek control over rare earth minerals and corner of the market on electric batteries. This is ridiculous.”
Hagerty on the need to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable: “I would just say that with respect to the Chinese Communist Party, they’ve done nothing to keep the world safe. [Do] you remember what happened within China once the virus got loose? They prohibited any domestic traffic from Wuhan on air travel, but they allowed international air travel to continue. This is something that we need to make front and center and deal with this. I think Antony Blinken needs to have this on the agenda. I certainly hope he will. […] We were putting a severe degree of pressure on China using trade as a major tool. If you think about the trade deficit with the United States, China has made out like a bandit over [the] years. They’ve used that gap to fund a massive buildup in their military. We were pushing back on this in the previous Administration. We need to continue that process right now. The trade tools are still there, but we need to enforce them. And when Secretary Blinken shows up in China, we need to be speaking from a position of strength.”
Hagerty on the debt ceiling: “What we’re seeing from the Democrats is a false choice: you put the full faith and credit of the United States, Social Security and Medicare, on the block or give them a blank check. That’s just not the case. We can protect interest payments on our debt. We can protect social security and Medicare, and get right at some of the major wasteful spending that’s taking place. [Do] you think our [Federal Reserve has] got a tough choice now? You know, we’ve had so much inflationary spending dumped in on a wholly partisan basis just over the past two years. You know, we’ve got the choice of accommodating all this public spending and putting the private sector economy into recession. The Democrats have caused this. We can fix it.”