US Failure to Fully Fund Government Would Benefit China, Warns Biden Administration
The failure to fully fund the US government for the next fiscal year would benefit China by limiting the US’ ability to compete with its chief adversary, according to three senior Biden administration officials. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told the appropriations committee on Tuesday that each of their departments would be less able to counter Chinese influence and malign activity without sufficient funding. They offered warnings that were echoed by members of the committee, who hold the power to write annual spending bills.
Austin said that a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, would freeze Pentagon spending at previous-year levels and prevent it from starting new programs or increasing the rate of production for weapons or vehicles. This would delay the US’ ability to get critical munitions needed for itself and its allies and partners. Austin also confirmed that the Defence Department was crafting a security assistance package for Taiwan using equipment drawn from US inventory and could subsequently seek funding to replenish its stockpiles.
Raimondo oversees controls on high-technology exports to countries that present national security threats. She said that a stopgap funding bill at current levels would mean that Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security would have fewer employees to check that exported technology, especially to China, is being used in ways that comply with US law. This could result in US technology getting into the hands of malign actors and China.
Blinken said that China has fully accredited ambassadors in each of its roughly 180 diplomatic posts while many of the 173 US embassies are under interim leaders. He called on the Senate to act quickly to confirm presidential nominees as well as to finance the government.
However, Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said the Biden administration had not done enough to combat China’s actions, from its engagement in Africa to its purchase of oil from Iran in defiance of US and European sanctions. “Everything we’ve done in the last two years, in my view, has made every bad actor more emboldened,” he said.
The Biden administration officials have warned that a failure to fully fund the US government for the next fiscal year would benefit China by limiting the US’ ability to compete with its chief adversary. The officials from the Defence, State, and Commerce departments have urged the appropriations committee to provide sufficient funding to counter Chinese influence and malign activity. The failure to do so could delay the US’ ability to get critical munitions needed for itself and its allies and partners. It could also result in US technology getting into the hands of malign actors and China.