Senators pass bill to block national security threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs – led by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Republican Chairman Mike Crapo of Idaho – passed the Senators’ bill this week to strengthen the tools the U.S. uses to block national security threats posed by investments from China and other countries. Such countries often use investments to acquire sensitive U.S. technology and knowhow. The Brown-Crapo bill would modernize and strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – known as CFIUS – so the committee is better equipped to handle emerging threats from China. The House Financial Services Committee also passed a similar bill Tuesday, and Brown is hopeful the legislation will get signed into law this year.

Following committee passage of Brown’s bill, he outlined the next steps he’s taking to also protect American jobs and the economy from foreign investments, the same way CFIUS protects national security.

“As countries like China have adopted new tactics to acquire sensitive American technology and knowhow, we must update the tools we have to block such threats,” Brown said. “This legislation is an important, bipartisan step – and I hope it is signed into law this year –but it’s only a first step. In addition to protecting our national security, we must also take steps to protect American jobs and our economy.”

Brown and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced the Foreign Investment Review Act, which would require review of certain proposed foreign investments for their impact on the U.S. economy and jobs.

Recent patterns of foreign investment in the U.S. have raised concerns that overseas competitors, including state-owned enterprises, are pursuing investments to make strategic gains in the U.S. market or to benefit their own domestic industries. No current mechanism allows the U.S. government to evaluate foreign investment for its long-term economic benefit to the U.S. The Senators’ bill would require a review of certain foreign investments to determine if they are in the economic interest of the U.S., not a foreign individual or foreign government.

In a letter to President Trump, Brown urged President Trump to stand firm in efforts to address the U.S. trade imbalance with China. In the letter, Brown outlined specific policy ideas the President should demand in order to address the root causes of the trade imbalance and put a stop to China’s cheating, including supporting Brown’s Foreign Investment Review Act.