Feb 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

GOP lawmakers react to China balloon: "This administration lacks urgency"

Republican lawmakers reacted Sunday to the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon and criticized the Biden administration for not shooting it down sooner.

Driving the news: "The message they were trying to send is what they believe internally, and that is that the United States is a once-great superpower that's hollowed out, it's in decline," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said.

  • "They did this on purpose," Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on ABC News' "This Week."
  • "They understood that it was going to be spotted, they knew the U.S. government would have to reveal it, that people were going to see it over the sky."

House Intelligence Chair Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said: "I think this administration lacks urgency" on NBC News' "Meet the Press."

  • "There's no excuses here," he said, adding: "This should have been taken down before it entered U.S. airspace when it was over Alaska."

Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) also said Sunday that the Biden administration's ordering the military to shoot down the balloon was "too little, too late."

  • "This is all about China poking at us. This is all about China testing the American resolve. … They know that tensions are escalating and they want to see what kind of leadership we have," he said on ABC's "This Week."
  • "The president failed on this one," Sununu added.

The big picture: The remarks come after the U.S. shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast on Saturday.

  • President Biden gave his authorization Wednesday to take down the surveillance balloon "as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path," per the Department of Defense.
  • The Defense Department said the move to shoot down the balloon "demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty."

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Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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