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Waters Floor Statement in Support of Bipartisan Effort to Reform CFIUS

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Washington, June 26, 2018 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following floor statement on H.R. 5841, the “Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018,” a bill to reform and provide additional resources for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

As Prepared for Delivery

Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I rise today in support of H.R. 5841, the “Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018.” This bill represents a bipartisan effort to bring much-needed reform to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which serves an important function in the national security area.

I would like to thank Chairman Hensarling and Chairman Barr, Ranking Member Moore, Congressman Pittenger, Congresswoman Maloney, and Congressman Heck in particular. Congressman Heck has for a good part of a year been working very hard to ensure that any legislation addresses key jurisdictional gaps in the current scope of CFIUS’s authority, and this bill does that. I thank him for his leadership.

It is Congress’ responsibility to ensure that CFIUS appropriately balances the benefits of our traditionally open investment climate with the need to protect our national security.

And make no mistake, the national security threats we face today in this area are both serious and evolving. The world has become a much more complicated place since Congress last reviewed and reformed the CFIUS process a decade ago. This bill brings CFIUS into the 21st century.

H.R. 5841 would expand the jurisdiction of CFIUS with regard to certain types of transactions that have previously avoided scrutiny, and it reforms the national security reviews performed by CFIUS to address growing concerns that foreign entities may be using acquisitions of, and partnerships with, U.S. businesses to chip away at American technological leadership.

The primary concern here is China’s aggressive industrial policy and their efforts to invest in early-stage cutting-edge U.S. technologies with potential military applications—including artificial intelligence and robotics—in part to advance China’s military modernization and diminish America’s technological advantage.

During the course of our deliberations on this legislation, despite some honest intellectual disagreements as to how to best counter this threat, at the end of the day, we understood that we have a responsibility to address these problems in the most effective and efficient way possible, and in ways that do not undermine other important functions of government, many of which also contribute to our national security.

Importantly, this legislation also recognizes that as the volume of cases and the complexity of transactions continue to increase, expanding the scope of CFIUS without additional resources would not only undermine CFIUS’s mission, but it would also deplete other important government services and functions, both domestically and internationally.

So I’m very glad that this legislation authorizes $20 million annually for the next five years to fund CFIUS operations, as well as provide the authority for Treasury to impose a filing fee on companies that file with CFIUS based on the value of the transaction, and taking into account a number of other factors, including the effect of any given fee on small business concerns.

The bill does not address everyone’s concerns yet, including concerns by some entertainment industry stakeholders, which I share. As we move forward, I will continue to support ongoing refinements to the legislation. H.R. 5841deserves strong support in the House, and I urge my colleagues to vote “YES.”

I reserve the balance of my time.

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