Biden’s nominees will face a China gauntlet

Top lawmakers, Capitol Hill staffers and analysts expect Biden’s would-be team to face an unprecedented barrage of questions about how they plan to handle the Chinese government’s yawning ambitions — to the point where one expert called it a “China litmus test.”

And because Beijing’s growing global clout touches so many different areas — from agricultural tariffs to the coronavirus pandemic to alleged Chinese spies on college campuses — senators are likely to raise the topic during hearings for positions that in the past may have seemed irrelevant.

Among those who want China to get wide attention throughout the confirmation hearings is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a leading China skeptic who’s expected to chair the Senate Intelligence Committee in the next Congress.

“Every U.S. official has a role to play, because the national security threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party to the United States cut across all aspects of our society, our economy and our government,” Rubio said in response to POLITICO’s questions. “Biden’s nominations will need to demonstrate a strong understanding of how their departments can respond to these challenges.”