Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins are both aligning with President Trump and his tough talk about President Xi Jinping’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
If China “wants to be a world power, they have to act like a world power in all ways,” Collins told Fox News.
The fast-spreading coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected 7.6 million Americans and killed 212,800, more than in any other country in the world. Lockdowns aimed at slowing the disease resulted in trillions of dollars of damage to the U.S. economy and the sharpest slowdown of the post-World War II era.
“We have to hold China accountable and make sure that this never happens again,” said Loeffler, a career businesswoman appointed to her seat by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
To do so, the first-term senator has backed several bills that reduce America’s reliance on China for the production of pharmaceuticals and other key manufacturing and voted in favor of delisting foreign companies from U.S. exchanges if they fail to comply with audit requests for three years.
She has also voted in favor of numerous other bills that toughen the U.S. stance against Beijing.
Collins, however, argues that Loeffler has a different view when it comes to her own bank account.
The incumbent senator is “talking about holding China accountable, but yet when she actually has the ability to do so, which is her husband and all delisting 10 state-owned Chinese companies from the New York Stock Exchange, they refuse,” he said.
Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the founder and CEO of NYSE parent Intercontinental Exchange. The NYSE is the only U.S. exchange to list companies in which the China Communist Party owns a stake of at least 30%. Those 10 companies command more than $400 billion of market value.
Collins told Fox News that if Loeffler were serious about “holding China accountable,” she would cosponsor the COVID-19 Accountability Act that he introduced in the House and Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham brought up in the Senate.
The bill calls for Chinese companies that are owned by the CCP to be delisted from U.S. stock exchanges, choking access to U.S capital markets. Collins’ opponent points out that the case isn’t that simple.
“While Senator Loeffler has been fighting every day to hold China accountable, Doug Collins has been holding up a bill in the House — passed by the Senate — that would delist Chinese companies,” said Loeffler communications director Stephen Lawson. “Why is he covering for them?”
In addition to introducing the COVID-19 Accountability Act, Collins has also backed a number of other actions against Beijing.
China has to be able to “work on this world stage and in their trade policy, especially from a Georgia perspective, they’ve got to have trade policies for agriculture and other things that actually work for both sides,” he said.
Both Loeffler and Collins have their work cut out for them as a recent surge by a Democratic rival, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, has catapulted him to the top spot in the polls.
Warnock currently commands 25.3% of the vote, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClear Politics, while Loeffler and Collins hold 22.8% and 21.3%, respectively. The top two vote-getters in the Nov. 3 election will advance to a runoff scheduled for Jan. 6 if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.
Warnock’s campaign, which has been silent on China, told Fox News that it “didn’t have anything to add” on the matter.