Sen. Marco Rubio has announced his opposition to President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank following a Washington Examiner report on her role as a strategic adviser for a pro-China business group that has partnered with organizations linked to the Communist Party.
Rubio, a Florida Republican and the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday he would fight Reta Jo Lewis’s nomination to lead the Ex-Im Bank due to her work for the U.S. Heartland China Association, which regularly works with Chinese organizations tied to the CCP’s malign influence efforts inside the United States, and over her decadelong history of pushing closer links between U.S. “subnational” groups — states, cities, and businesses — and their Chinese government counterparts.
“Reta Jo Lewis is the wrong person to lead the U.S. Export-Import Bank, but she will fit right in as a member of Biden’s team of polite and orderly caretakers of America’s decline,” Rubio said. “The main reason for the Ex-Im Bank to exist is to help America outcompete China across the globe. If Lewis cannot and will not engage in that competition because she spent years trying to forge stronger ties between American companies and the Chinese Communist Party, then we will need a new nominee.”
Rubio’s office called the USHCA “a conduit for the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which aims to influence key Americans at the subnational level and ultimately undermine America’s national interests.”
Rubio also recently placed a hold on Biden’s nomination of Nicholas Burns to be the U.S. ambassador to China over what he called the diplomat’s “failure to understand” the threat posed by the CCP.
Lewis was passed out of the Senate Banking Committee in October and is now awaiting a full Senate vote.
The USHCA regularly partners with organizations tied to the CCP’s United Front — which Xi Jinping has described as a “magic weapon.”
Lewis’s biography on the USHCA website touts her role promoting “subnational” links between the U.S. and China. Former Democratic Gov. Bob Holden serves as the chairman and CEO of USCHA, and his LinkedIn page also brags that he “helped bring the first Confucius Institute” to Webster University.
USHCA has repeatedly partnered with the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, both of which have CCP connections. USHCA has also repeatedly partnered with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
Lewis is also listed as a board member of the Greater Washington China Investment Center, whose “services” include “access and introductions to city, state, and federal leaders in the United States and China.”
Lewis’s opening statement before the Senate Banking Committee in October said she would “fully implement the provisions of EXIM’s 2019 reauthorization,” including “strategic competition with China.”
Mitch Landrieu, who is also a USHCA strategic adviser, was picked by Biden to be the infrastructure czar, overseeing $1.2 trillion in spending. GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher said Landrieu’s links to USHCA should “disqualify” him from the post.