GOP Senators Introduce Bill to Boost Transparency on US Spending in China

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‘We know that Communist China does its best to hide the finances of its government and businesses from Americans.’

Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced legislation on Jan. 11 that calls for increased transparency from the federal government regarding funds flowing to companies in China.

The bill, titled “Our Money in China Transparency Act,” requires the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies to submit annual, detailed reports regarding taxpayers’ money spent on any federal program, project, or activity related to institutions or entities associated with the Chinese regime.

“We know that Communist China does its best to hide the finances of its government and businesses from Americans,” Mr. Scott said in a statement.

The legislation also tracks federal spending on federal-funded entities, including American universities’ China-based campuses.

“When it comes to countries that are our enemies, like Communist China, there needs to be complete transparency and oversight with any resources going their way—especially your tax dollars,” Mr. Scott added.

In November, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) reintroduced the companion legislation. The bill “mandates one important thing: transparency,” Mr. Green said at the time. “Taxpayers deserve a detailed look at funds that currently go to entities in China.”

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Communist China poses “a threat to our way of life and our national security,” Mr. Green said. “Xi Jinping will stop at nothing to undermine the United States.”

He said that to stop U.S. dollars from enriching the Chinese regime, increasing the transparency of federal funding is important.

“It’s simple—the American people should know which Chinese Communist Party-affiliated entities and institutions receive our federal dollars. And this includes money sent by institutions of higher education that accept taxpayer funding,” Mr. Green said. “No federal department or entity receiving federal funds should be exempt.”

Other Measures

The bill is the latest effort from GOP lawmakers to enhance transparency into how American dollars are invested and how the federal government spends its money in China.

Last month, Mr. Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the “American Investment Accountability Act.” The legislation mandates the Commerce and Treasury Departments and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regularly report on U.S. entities’ investments in countries of concern, including China.
Mr. Rubio has campaigned for years to prevent the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board from investing retirement savings in Chinese firms. As a result, in November, the $771 billion U.S. federal pension fund decided to exclude China and Hong Kong investments amid geopolitical tensions.
In November, Mr. Scott and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the “Disclosing Investments in Foreign Adversaries Act,” requiring private investment funds to inform the SEC annually of any investments in China and other “countries of concern.” The legislation also requires the SEC to publish an annual report of private funds that invest in these countries and the percentage of those investments.
In June, Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) introduced the “Protecting Americans’ Retirement Savings Act“ (PARSA), which restricts private pension funds from making future investments in firms from foreign adversaries, such as Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China.
In July, Mr. Casey and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the “Outbound Investment Transparency Act.” The legislation requires American firms to notify the Treasury Department if they have investments in Chinese firms with sensitive technologies, including semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and hypersonics, over national security concerns.
In August, President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning outbound U.S. investments in key technologies that “significantly advance the military, intelligence, surveillance, or cyber-enabled capabilities of countries of concern,” including China.
“The Biden administration is committed to keeping America safe and defending America’s national security through appropriately protecting technologies that are critical to the next generation of military innovation,” the Treasury Department said in an August statement.

Eva Fu and Andrew Moran contributed to this report.

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