Congress demands answers on balloons

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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By Rep. Jerry Carl

Two weeks ago on Tuesday, January 31st, President Biden was briefed on the existence of a Chinese spy balloon but made the choice not to shoot it down, even though he had confirmation it was being used to spy on Americans. The following Thursday, officials acknowledged the Chinese spy balloon had been seen flying over Montana near a nuclear reactor site and several sensitive military locations. At this point, the balloon had been monitored for nearly a week without any action being taken by President Biden.

The balloon was finally shot down on Saturday, February 4th over the Atlantic Ocean, after it spent a week crossing the entire continental United States and collecting all kinds of sensitive information. Despite Communist China acknowledging it was their balloon (although they claim it was just a civilian airship being used for weather monitoring), President Biden took way too long to act.

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I am grateful to our servicemembers who successfully shot this balloon down – as well as the other objects we are continuing to see invade North American air space. I’m also thrilled Congress worked in a bipartisan way to condemn this ridiculous action by the Chinese Communist Party and demand answers on what exactly happened.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of presiding over the House floor proceedings for a few hours. During this time, Republicans and Democrats came together to pass a resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over the United States’ territory as a brazen violation of United States’ sovereignty. The resolution passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 419-0.

Our resolution determines it should be the policy of the United States to always act quickly and decisively to prevent foreign aerial surveillance platforms. It also calls on the Biden administration to keep Congress informed on this incident by providing us a complete list of all known infiltrations of national airspace by China over the past several years, a complete list of similar incidents of China using surveillance balloons around the world, a complete timeline of events surrounding the eventual shootdown of the spy balloon, and an assessment on the data China was potentially able to collect and transmit while the balloon was over United States territory.

Make no mistake – Congress will continue doing all we can to prevent something like this from ever happening again, while also pushing the President to do everything within his power to keep Americans safe. The Chinese Communist Party is one of the biggest threats our country faces, and we cannot allow them to violate our sovereignty again.