Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., criticized the Biden administration for its relationship with China, expressing concern over the possibility of lifting tariffs on Chinese imports imposed by the Trump administration.
“Biden administration officials should stop chasing their Chinese communist counterparts like love-struck teenagers. It’s shameful and pathetic,” Cotton said on an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “In fact, it shows weakness in China.”
Cotton’s remarks came less than 24 hours after a Chinese warship came within about 150 yards of a US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait on Saturday. The US Indo-Pacific Command confirmed that the incident occurred while the USS Chung-Hoon was conducting joint exercises with Canada.
“It encourages them to do things like buzz our aircraft or come within a few hundred yards of our ships, it encourages them to send spy balloons floating across America,” Cotton said.
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The tariffs were put in place by former President Donald Trump in 2018 and 2019. They came in response to an investigation that found China was violating US intellectual property laws and forcing American companies to transfer sensitive technology. to Chinese companies as a condition of gaining access to the Chinese market.
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Cotton — who has been vocal in his criticism of the defense cuts included in the debt ceiling bill — said the best way to deter China and other such countries is to have a military presence.
“To get back to this bill that we just voted on, the single best way we can deter China and Iran and Russia is to have a military capable of deterring them. That’s one of the great lessons of history. ,” Cotton said.
He previously introduced an amendment aimed at boosting defense funding in the debt ceiling law, while also criticizing the allocated military budget in his own remarks on the Senate floor Thursday. The amendment failed to gain any traction.
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President Biden signed the debt ceiling bill on Saturday, raising the government’s borrowing limit and averting a potential default on the national debt. The Fiscal Responsibility Act cuts non-defense spending to near fiscal 2022 levels, caps growth at 1% for the next two years and proposes non-mandatory caps for the four years after that.
The law also increases defense spending by 3% for the first year, below the rate of inflation. Cotton maintains that such a move is “very dangerous for our country.”
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“There’s no question the Pentagon will find savings, but not the savings to match and offset the cuts in this bill or the threats we face from countries like China and Iran and Russia,” said Cotton.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson, Liz Friden and Eric Revell contributed to this report.