WASHINGTON, DC - Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of the National Security First Act, which will implement changes to the CFIUS review process that will strengthen national security:
"Mr. Speaker, today, the new Democratic Majority in the House has brought legislation to the Floor - the National Security First Act - which will strengthen our national security by addressing a glaring deficiency that became public last year.
"Many Members of Congress - and millions of Americans - were shocked when it was reported in 2006 that the Bush Administration had approved a deal allowing Dubai Ports World - a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates - to manage terminal operations at six major ports in the United States.
"Let me be clear: There is nothing wrong with foreign investment in our nation. In fact, we have reason to encourage it. But what was shocking about the Dubai Ports World deal was that it was approved by the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States with only minimal review, and without the 45-day national security investigation that clearly should have occurred.
"In fact, the deal was approved despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security had raised security concerns. And, approval occurred without the input of senior Administration officials, such as the Secretaries of the Treasury and Homeland Security, and even the President himself.
"Thus, today, I want to congratulate Chairman Frank of the Financial Services Committee for his strong leadership on this bipartisan legislation. In short, this bill addresses key failings in the current CFIUS review process.
"First, it will require that in cases involving a company controlled by a foreign government that either the CFIUS Chairman (the Treasury Secretary) or the Vice-Chairman (the Homeland Security Secretary) certify that the transaction poses no national security threat, or that a 45-day security investigation occur after the initial 30-day review period. In cases where the second stage 45-day review applies, the bill requires the President to approve such transactions.
"In addition, the bill improves CFIUS accountability to Congress. Recall that last year, Congress was not notified of the Dubai Ports World deal. Now, CFIUS must report to the committees of jurisdiction within five days after the final action on a CFIUS investigation.
"Finally, this legislation requires that every transaction be subjected to an investigation by the Director of National Intelligence.
"Again, this is important legislation that will strengthen our national security. I urge Members on both sides of the aisle to support it."