6:17 p.m. ET, February 5, 2023
Capitol Hill braces for briefings and potential vote on Chinese surveillance balloon saga
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)
With the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down over the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are gearing up for briefings on China and how the Biden administration handled the short-lived, but geopolitically tense, crisis.
The Gang of Eight will receive a briefing as early Tuesday, according to a congressional source. The group consists of top Democratic and Republican leaders in both the House and Senate, as well as key Intelligence Committee members from both chambers. It is generally privy to sensitive information that the rest of Congress is not always briefed on.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Sunday that the full Senate will receive a classified briefing on China from the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. That briefing is slated for February 15, according to a congressional source.
Schumer said the briefing will include information about China’s surveillance capabilities
, research and development, advanced weapons systems, and other “critical platforms.”
“The full Senate -- all senators of both parties -- will have a larger and full China briefing next week. And that is something that I think will be very important, serious and hopefully nonpolitical,” the New York Democrat said at a news conference in Manhattan.
House Republicans are weighing a vote this week on a resolution condemning the Biden administration for its handling of the surveillance balloon, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN.
The resolution could be voted on also as early as Tuesday, the same day President Joe Biden will deliver the State of the Union address
before a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol.
The source cautioned to CNN, however, that discussions were still ongoing, and no firm plans had been made as yet.
Republicans have been increasingly critical of the administration in recent days, accusing it of being slow to take action
against the spy balloon and making the US look weak