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Moolenaar tapped to lead Select China Committee

BY: ARI HAWKINS, GAVIN BADE | 03/25/2024 12:35 PM EDT

Speaker Mike Johnson has selected Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) to serve as the next chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, replacing Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) as he exits Congress later in April.

Johnson said in a statement that “our country, our economy, and our national security will be well-served by [Moolenaar’s] wisdom and guidance.”

Moolenaar, a five-term lawmaker from a rural district, has gained notoriety with China hawks in recent months for opposing a proposed battery factory with links to a Chinese company in central Michigan’s Green Charter Township.

Gotion, a U.S.-based subsidiary of a Chinese battery company, planned to build a factory to supply batteries for automaker Ford. But last November, local voters voted out the township government in a protest over the proposed factory fueled by fear of Chinese influence.

The future of the factory is now in question, threatening thousands of potential jobs in the area. But Moolenaar hailed the voters’ decision in comments to POLITICO last year.

“People are in favor of jobs coming into their area, but not when there’s a link to the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

Moolenaar and GOP Rep. Darin LaHood of Illinois have also introduced a bill, the “NO GOTION Act,” to prohibit companies affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party from receiving green energy production tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Moolenaar “understands the grave military, economic, and ideological threat posed by the CCP,” Gallagher said in a statement.

The factory has also offered Moolenaar a chance to critique Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who is running for Michigan’s open Senate seat against GOP challengers that include former Rep. Mike Rogers. Even a temporary role leading the China Select Committee could give him a platform to slam Democrats’ clean energy policies for their connections to China.

The appointment is another shakeup for a committee already facing internal divisions, including over whether the panel should even be revived after its current mandate period expires.

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