China bill delayed in U.S. House amid partisan wrangling

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee will resume work later this month on Democratic-led legislation intended to boost competitiveness with China and push Beijing on human rights, after two days of debate on the measure.

A spokesman said on Friday the panel would consider its consideration of the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act, or Eagle Act, on July 12 after marathon discussion of the measure on Wednesday and Thursday, but no vote.

The desire for a hard line in dealings with China is one of the few truly bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided U.S. Congress, which is narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats.

However, the two parties disagree on how best to deal with Beijing. While the Senate passed sweeping legislation with bipartisan support in early June, the full House has yet to finalize or vote on a comprehensive bill.

During the marathon discussion of the Eagle Act, which ended well after midnight on Wednesday and then stretched into Thursday evening, members of the Foreign Affairs panel offered about 100 amendments to the legislation, which was written by the committee's Democratic chairman, Representative Gregory Meeks.

Among other things, committee Republicans - who said before the meeting they would not support the bill - objected to provisions authorizing funding for climate initiatives. They also said it was too much of a "messaging bill," focused more on ordering reports than changing policy, a criticism Democrats dispute.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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