PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 4939, EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND HURRICANE RECOVERY, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 15, 2006)
Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the previous question so that the House can consider a critical amendment that would strengthen the CFIUS review process.
As we know all too well from the recent controversy over the Dubai ports deal, the current process for reviewing foreign takeover of national infrastructure is deeply flawed. Federal law currently allows the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) up to 30 days to examine a potential sale and determine whether to begin a more thorough 45-day security investigation. This process is meant to examine the national security implications of handing over critical infrastructure to foreign companies. However, as we now know, far too often the committee forgoes a deeper review of these deals. CIFIUS has investigated an estimated 1500 foreign investment transactions since it was established, of which 25 have gone into the 45 day review and only one has been blocked.
Defeating the previous question would allow the House to consider an amendment offered by Mr. SABO that is blocked by the underlying rule. The Sabo amendment would strengthen the current CFIUS process by requiring all foreign transactions that could result in foreign control of any asset or infrastructure that affects national security to undergo a full review. It mandates a more critical look at these deals by ensuring a 75 day security review of CFIUS transactions and requires the President to either approve or disapprove all deals. The amendment also requires that Congress be notified of Presidential approvals and allows for Congress to overturn decisions within 30 days with a joint resolution. In total, these changes would bring some common sense reform to a process that is central to the security of our vital infrastructure and the American people.
The Dubai Port World deal showed that the actions of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) need to be taken out of the shadows and brought into the light. Congress should not be rubber-stamping the Administration's backroom deals, it should be reviewing them thoroughly. While H.R. 4939 will put an end to the already dead Dubai Ports World deal, focusing on this one transaction ignores the larger flaws in the CFIUS review process and the wide gaps in our port security. This important amendment deserves nothing less than an up-or-down vote.