WASHINGTON — Congressman Robert Pittenger’s legislation to protect America’s critical national security technology and infrastructure from malicious foreign investment is one step away from going to President Trump for his signature.
The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval Thursday to Rep. Pittenger’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, according to a release from the North Carolina Republican’s office. The legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 359-54.
“Today the House approved the Conference Committee version, what was agreed to by the House and Senate,” Pittenger spokesman Jamie Bower said Thursday. “So the Senate will give their formal approval next week, and then it goes to President Trump for his signature.”
President Trump is expected to sign the NDAA, including Congressman Pittenger’s provisions, into law.
“For years, China and other adversarial nation-states have vacuumed up critical American security-related technology and infrastructure through targeted business investments, especially in the areas of emerging technology,” Pittenger said. “China has also forced American companies to share military-applicable technology through strategically-designed joint ventures. America’s Cold War-era safeguards weren’t able to combat this national security threat.
“For over two years, and through countless meetings and briefings and hearings, my office and I worked to carefully reform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, identifying and developing solutions to loopholes. Our final product, which passed today, strengthens America’s national security while continuing to allow beneficial foreign investment.”
The Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act:
— Expands Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States jurisdiction to include joint ventures, minority position investments, and real estate transactions near military bases and other sensitive national security facilities.
— Updates Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States definition of “critical technologies” to include emerging technologies that could be essential for maintaining the U.S. technological advantage over countries that pose threats.
— Adds new national security factors to the review process.
— Strengthens the government’s ability to protect American “critical infrastructure” from foreign government disruption.
— Creates a mechanism for the Treasury Department to work with America’s allies to improve the foreign investment review process overseas, strengthening global security.
Pittenger and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn first introduced the legislation in November. Their bipartisan legislation received strong pushback from businesses that have profited from China’s military build-up, but was endorsed by the White House, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and five former secretaries of Defense.
Pittenger represents District 9, which includes all of Robeson County. The Charlotte businessman was defeated in May in the Republican primary by Mark Harris and will be leaving Congress.