Senators Martha McSally (R., Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) introduced a resolution Thursday that would demand China repay $1.6 trillion in sovereign debt with interest, compounding on debt existent since 1912, before the creation of the Chinese Communist Party regime, Fox News reported.
Though the resolution would not be legally binding, it is intended to signpost the sentiment of Congress toward the People’s Republic of China.
With the Sino-American relationship at loggerheads, McSally cited the coronavirus and failing bilateral economic arrangements as justification for her resolution.
"China has repeatedly failed to honor its obligations to America, taking American families’ money and jobs," McSally said. "Well, the abuse ends here. We are holding China accountable for their debt and for unleashing the coronavirus on the world. We demand China pay back the $1.6 trillion it owes to American families."
"This is not the first time China’s actions have had an outsized impact on the American people," Blackburn added. "What 2020 has made clear is that the status quo is not working when it comes to our relationship with China."
The resolution does have some historical precedent. In 1987, Beijing agreed to pay off over 20 million pounds in loans to the United Kingdom, and is accordingly in selective financial default by choosing not to pay back Washington.
McSally and Blackburn may join the ranks of the Senate’s China hawks with such a move.
Last week, the PRC issued sanctions on five Republican senators—Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), Marco Rubio, (R., Fla.), Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), and Ted Cruz (R., Tex.)—for their tough stances on Beijing.
"The Chinese Communist Party imposed these impotent sanctions against me because I defend the real victims of Chinese Communism," Sen. Cotton said in a statement last week. "If China thinks my opposition to its communist tyranny to date warrants these sanctions, I have two words for them: Just wait."