Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D), leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, introduced legislation today that would require the U.S. government to create a plan of action to counter “China’s efforts to expand its presence and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean and to describe how these efforts could undermine American interests.” Tension between the United States and China have heightened in recent years regarding the country’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims and its handling of the COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, lawmakers have criticized the Communist Party of China, calling for the upcoming Winter Olympic games to be moved elsewhere.
In a statement, Rep. Murphy expressed that “China’s self-serving efforts to project power in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico – a region of great importance to the United States – have potential to threaten our national security, our economic prosperity, and our democratic values.” “As America and China compete across nearly every functional and geographic domain, it is critical for U.S. policymakers to understand what China is doing in the region and to have an effective strategy in place to counter China’s aggressive conduct and to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its actions.”
The bill, titled Assessing China’s Presence and Influence in Latin America and the Caribbean Act, will have both an unclassified and a classified section while being jointly prepared by the Department of Defense, Department of State, the National Security Council and the U.S. Intelligence community.
Murphy has been a longtime critic of the Communist Party of China, commenting last month that the United States has “to make a very clear distinction that our adversary and competitor is the Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese people, and certainly not the Asian Americans who have contributed so much to this country.”
Murphy is rumored to be preparing a Senatorial bid against Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) in the upcoming 2022 midterm election.