It was a Republican President who inaugurated America’s openness to China 50 years ago, but it is Republicans in Congress who seem poised to begin closing the door. With the likelihood of a Republican takeover of the House and possibly the Senate in November, American businesses should prepare for a raft of anti-China measures that are likely to pass the House in the new Congress.
House Republican Leadership intends to include China decoupling legislation among its top 10 priorities in 2023. Unlike many foreign policy issues on which voters express little interest, this new decoupling fervor is being driven by Republicans’ most enthusiastic voters.
In one recent unpublished poll, almost half of Republican voters agreed that the U.S. government should prohibit American companies from doing business in China, and fewer than one-third disagreed. Three times as many Republican voters strongly agreed with this view than strongly disagreed, demonstrating that voter intensity for decoupling is high.
In a time of heightened partisanship leading into another divisive election, 26 Republican Senators sent a letter supporting Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan – despite the fact that Pelosi is anathema to Republican voters. The subtext to the letter was that Republicans’ eagerness for a muscular confrontation with China trumps even election-year partisanship in some circumstances.