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Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Federal legislation proposes increased Congressional oversight of foreign transactions

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U.S. Reps. John Moolenaar (R-MI), Zach Nunn (R-IA), and Bill Huizenga (R-MI) introduced legislation this week to increase congressional involvement in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

That legislation was dubbed the Foreign Investment Transparency and Accountability Act.

“CFIUS was created with the intent of protecting America and stopping transactions that pose a risk to our national security,” Moolenaar said. “A lot has changed since CFIUS was created and unfortunately, it has been left behind. My legislation will increase Congressional oversight so the problems at CFIUS will be fixed, and the committee can once again protect the American people from foreign investments that pose a national security risk.”

CFIUS is a collection of 16 federal agencies that review national security considerations of foreign investments in American land and businesses. It was created in 1950 as part of the Defense Production Act and is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury. At its discretion, CFIUS can review transactions at any time, whether voluntarily submitted or not.

However, the three lawmakers raised one major issue—that CFIUS has no need to provide justifications to Congress if transactions are flagged as threats to national security but then not ultimately reviewed.

“Ensuring our homeland is protected from foreign adversaries should always be top of mind,” Nunn said. “It is mission critical that we stop the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing American farmland and obtaining control of our food and energy sources. This is a commonsense solution to root out foreign adversaries and address growing concerns over foreign purchases.”

The trio emphasized the critical role of modernization and accountability. With their bill, they further claimed Congress was the one to ensure it by helping identify loopholes outside CFIUS’s jurisdiction and requiring CFIUS to notify Congress in cases of mis-flags or canceled reviews, with information on why those transactions were not reviewed in the end.