House Republicans are demanding answers from the Biden administration regarding its response to the recent Chinese spy balloon incident. They are considering issuing subpoenas to senior intelligence community members and withholding spending until they receive answers to their questions.
The Republicans have expressed concerns over why it took the Biden administration eight days to respond to the spy balloon and whether the Trump administration allowed similar balloons to fly over the United States without a military response.
House GOP Threatens Subpoenas, Budget Cuts Over Chinese Spy Balloon Debacle https://t.co/eaFu98ovLX
— Vince Gladu (@GladuVince) February 8, 2023
Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) stated that the public’s knowledge of the incident only came to light after civilians spotted it. He believes that subpoenas and withholding spending could effectively force the administration to answer the House Republicans. Bost argued that the Republicans must use the power they now hold through the Oversight Committee and control of federal spending.
Despite criticism from some Democrats, the House Republicans have made it clear that they intend to keep the issue at the forefront. The Republicans want to know what the Pentagon’s protocol is for future Chinese spy missions. They believe that waiting eight days for military intervention, as the Biden administration did, is far too long.
Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) said this week that formal subpoenas are necessary to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future and to understand the actions taken by the Biden administration.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) criticized the Biden administration’s response to the incident, calling it an effort to deflect attention from the crisis they created. She said that an anonymous official leaked intelligence that disparaged President Donald Trump but that the leak left out critical details regarding previous Chinese spy balloons that went undetected by the Pentagon. Malliotakis compared the current situation to previous intelligence leaks under Trump related to Afghanistan and Russia.
Biden’s reaction to the incident remains unclear several days after the balloon was brought down. Reports suggest he initially called for the balloon to be shot down immediately but that Pentagon officials overruled the decision. House Republicans are seeking answers to these questions and believe the public deserves to know the truth about the administration’s response to the Chinese spy balloon incident.
The Republican efforts come as a showdown with the White House over the U.S. debt limit rapidly approaches. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is rejecting a clean debt ceiling increase and is calling on Biden to negotiate with Republicans on cuts to discretionary domestic spending in return for upping the limit.