FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 11, 2007)
* Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the Senate's revision of what was a solid, balanced bill, H.R. 556, the ``Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007.'' This bill fails to make a number of very much needed reforms to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (``CFIUS''). I am disappointed that the legislation, passed by the Senate and considered today, makes changes to the bill originally passed by the House, that significantly weaken the legislation.
* As originally passed by the House, H.R. 556 ensured that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is given adequate time to conduct a thorough analysis of proposed transactions. If the DNI identified complex issues that could not be resolved within that initial 30-day review, the transaction would be sent to a 45-day investigation. These intelligence reviews were missing during the Dubai Ports debacle last year and are absolutely vital to our homeland security. The Senate version short-shrifts these intelligence reviews and requires the DNI to complete his work within 20 days. It fails to consider more complicated cases that may require additional scrutiny.
* In addition, the bill passed by the House both last year and this year would have elevated the Secretary of Homeland Security to a position as Vice-Chair of CFIUS and required both the Departments of Treasury and Homeland Security to approve all CFIUS findings. This was a sensible approach that balanced foreign investment with national security. In the post-9/11 world, homeland security considerations must be our first consideration, not our last. Elevating the Secretary of Homeland Security to the Vice-Chair position would have ensured that while we encourage foreign investment, we would never again side-step the security of our homeland. The legislation we are considering today does not include this important provision.
* The Senate's revision would allow a simple majority to overrule the Secretary of Homeland Security or Defense with respect to whether or not a transaction should receive a more thorough vetting through a National Security Investigation. The House bill had required an investigation if any Committee member thought it necessary to protect our national security. Further, the mechanism for approving the Committee's findings is conspicuously absent from the Senate language, whereas the House allowed for any dissenting Committee member to push the transaction to the President for his consideration.
* Each of these provisions was included to prevent a future Dubai Ports scenario. Elevating the Secretary of Homeland Security as Vice-Chair would have ensured that the DHS's concerns were seriously addressed by the Department of Treasury. Giving the DNI adequate time to conduct a thorough review would have guaranteed that Members would get more than a shrug of the shoulders when asking pointed questions about Dubai's reported ties to the Taliban. Rollcall votes would have demanded accountability for what was an ill-informed decision.
* I cannot in good faith support this legislation because it fails to make the vital changes noted above to improve the current CFIUS process. We are missing an opportunity to enact reforms that will ensure that a debacle like the Dubai Ports World transaction does not happen again.
* I will therefore vote against H.R. 556.