Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday that President Biden should use military force to take out Chinese military assets in Cuba.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration confirmed China was seeking to construct a military training facility in Cuba, which would allow it to permanently station troops in the country located less than 100 miles from Florida’s coast.
‘I support an Authorization for Use of Military Force to take out the Chinese assets in Cuba,’ said Gaetz, a vocal critic of China’s global ambitions, while the committee was debating amendments for the National Defense Authorization Act.
‘We should be a lot more concerned that China is functionally turning Cuba into a stationary aircraft carrier right off the coast of Florida,’ Gaetz said.
Gaetz also introduced a provision, which passed, that would prohibit Department of Defense funds from going toward drag shows.
Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., warned the Biden administration earlier this month that China having a spy base on the island would pose an ‘imminent threat’ to America. He also urged the White House to take action to bolster national security.
‘As the Member of Congress for America’s Southernmost district, which includes the entirety of the Florida Keys, this espionage base poses a direct threat to my constituents and to the millions of tourists who visit South Florida every year,’ Gimenez said.
He added: ‘Communist China is proactively undermining the United States across the Western Hemisphere and I urge this Administration to build a robust, comprehensive, and expedient strategy to counter the CCP’s malign influence with neighboring states.’
The Wall Street Journal reported talks about constructing a potential military facility on Cuba’s northern coast ‘are at an advanced stage but not concluded.’
According to the report, China intends to use a military base in Cuba as part of a new global network of military outposts.
However, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the report on the China-Cuba base is ‘not accurate.’ The National Security Council told Fox News that the WSJ report was inaccurate but did not elaborate.
The Biden administration later confirmed China is working to increase its spying efforts in Cuba, calling it an ‘ongoing issue’ but said it was nothing new.
The administration official said it was aware of a ‘number of’ efforts by the People’s Republic of China ‘around the world to expand its overseas logistics, basing, and collection infrastructure.’ These outposts would allow the People’s Liberation Army ‘to project and sustain military power at a greater distance.’
Debate for the NDAA ended shortly after midnight Thursday after more than 12 hours. In its current form, the new defense budget would give members of the Armed Services a 5.2% pay raise, the largest in over 20 years, and increase mental healthcare services available to these members.
Rep. Jen Kiggans, R-Virginia, described it as a ‘great bill.’
‘Providing for our nation’s defense is the top priority for the House Armed Services Committee and I am incredibly proud of the bipartisan work we’ve accomplished in the FY24 NDAA,’ added Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala.
‘This year’s NDAA includes provisions that counter China’s aggression, boost oversight of the Department of Defense, and support our service members and their families,’ Rogers said. ‘Additionally, this year’s bill saves taxpayers billions of dollars while still making critical investments in innovative technologies and our defense industrial base.
He added: ‘I thank my colleagues on the committee for their hard work in support of our national security. I look forward to advancing this bill to the full House in the coming weeks.’
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.