Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) told Townhall it is disappointing to see how Democrats who were once tough on China prior to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak are now silent as President Trump and Congressional Republicans take steps to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for the global pandemic.
Banks, along with Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Lance Gooden (R-TX), have been targeted by the CCP for possible sanctions for their outspokenness on making sure the Chinese government does not get away scot-free for the pandemic that started within their borders and spread to the rest of the world because of the government's authoritarian and bureaucratic response.
"First and foremost, I'm not going to back down. These issues are too important, too great," Banks said, adding his constituents, and Americans across the country, have urged Congress to help "disentangle" America's economy from China's.
"Unlike the CCP’s threats to sanction me and other members of Congress, we have a leg to stand on. The communist regime concealed vital information and allowed this pandemic to spread, which cost countless American lives and livelihoods. Now it is time for them to face the consequences," Crenshaw said about the possible sanctions.
Banks also expressed concerned with how media outlets in the United States seem to not meet CCP propaganda with heavy skepticism.
"So much of China's propaganda media arm has fed into the United States by being repeated by mainstream media outlets within our own country. So it's important that we are skeptical of anything that comes out of China," Banks said. "In years past, Democrats have been just as skeptical as Republicans about China's intent, about China's propaganda. But these days it gets back to what I call the Trump Derangement Syndrome and Democrats being unwilling to agree with anything President Trump says."
Banks said it was "shameful" Democrats are more focused on blaming Trump for the virus's effects on the United States than on China's human rights abuses, China's military threat to the United States, and their attempts to steal intellectual property from U.S. companies.
"Many Democrats have been just as interested in holding China accountable and addressing the China threat, but are afraid to speak out today because Democratic Party leaders have intimidated their members and told them to 'Shut up and don't talk about China as a threat,'" he added.
When Banks voted for the CARES Act to provide economic relief to Americans and small businesses that have been hurt through the "stay-at-home" orders, he provided an "invoice" to the Chinese Communist Party, billing them the $2.1 billion dollars the American government has spent.
"If you think about it, when I entered Congress the national debt was around 22 to 23 trillion dollars. Now with all the bills that we have passed funding the coronavirus aid packages, we're closer to 30 trillion dollars to the national debt," he said.
"I'm fully open to working with President Trump and his administration to find avenues to do that. But I can tell you right now, China holds $1 trillion in our national debt...so we need to find a way to write that off. President Trump needs to get tough on them to the point where they write off that $1trillion, which is a down payment, to the trillions of dollars that they've inflicted on the United States of America today."
As to what the American government can do now to help its citizens, Banks said it's time for states to reopen their economies in a safe and "responsible" way to get people back to work.
"In Indiana, in my home state, we have a phased approach to get Hoosiers back to work that's working," Banks explained. "Restaurants are opened, many small businesses have reopened in recent days and that's a big step forward, but the rest of the country has to join Indiana in getting back to work because there's nothing that will stimulate our economy better than that."