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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced a new "China Task Force" on Thursday that will work to develop legislative policies to curtail Chinese influence.

Why it matters: The global coronavirus pandemic has made it more apparent "for the need for a national strategy to deal with China, McCarthy said. The committee of 15 Republicans was originally supposed to include Democrats, but the party reportedly withdrew without explanation in February.

  • Sources told the Washington Post's Josh Rogin that there was at first a dispute among Democrats over who would be on the committee, but they later decided not to participate at all because the China issue has become too politicized in the coronavirus era.
  • “We are very cognizant of the need to hold China accountable for its actions,” a senior Democratic aide told the Post. “But to the extent this is going to be the Trump administration’s scapegoat for its utter failure, we are not going to go along with that.”

The big picture: The coronavirus crisis is threatening the bipartisan consensus that the U.S. needs a China policy that acknowledges Beijing's hard authoritarian turn and the serious challenge China's growing power presents to U.S. interests.

Details: The task force will work to develop a legislative strategy regarding China's influence inside the U.S., export control, foreign investment screening, presence in American universities and more.

  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), a ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, will serve as chairman of the task force.
  • Other members include Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

Go deeper: D.C.'s bipartisan China consensus may be unraveling

Go deeper

McConnell announces Senate will adjourn until Sept. 8

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday that the Senate will not hold any more votes until Sept. 8, though members will remain on 24-hour notice in case a coronavirus stimulus deal is reached.

Why it matters: With millions of Americans unemployed, the Trump administration and Democrats remain hopelessly deadlocked and unlikely to reach a deal any time soon.

Democrats drubbing Trumpless GOP on social media

Data: Twitter/CrowdTangle (Feb 24, 2021); Chart: Will Chase/Axios

In a swift reversal from 90 days ago, Democrats are now the ones with overpowering social media muscle and the ability to drive news.

The big picture: Former President Donald Trump’s digital exile and the reversal of national power has turned the tables on which party can keep a stranglehold on online conversation.

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to announce details of a plan to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.