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National Security FIRST Act

On February 28, 2007, the he House passed the National Security FIRST Act, H.R. 556.  The bill strengthens national security by reforming the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process by which the Federal Government reviews foreign investments in the United States for their national security implications. 

The National Security FIRST Act will strengthen national security by working to prevent foreign investments that would endanger our security from being approved. In early 2006, Americans were outraged by the secretive approval by the Bush Administration of a deal allowing a company owned by the government of U.A.E. to manage terminal operations at six major U.S. ports. Although the national security review process for foreign investments was clearly broken and the House and Senate each passed a bill, the GOP-controlled Congress failed to get a reform bill to the President's desk. Now, the Democratic-led Congress is determined to work quickly to get a strong, bipartisan reform bill signed into law. By reforming the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the National Security FIRST Act fixes the key failures identified in the aftermath of the Dubai Ports World scandal, while ensuring the United States is able to continue to attract investment from other countries.

The bill requires CFIUS to conduct a 30-day review of any national security-related business transaction.  After a 30-day review is conducted, CFIUS would be required to conduct a full-scale, 45-day investigation of the effects the business transaction would have on national security if the committee review results in any of the following determinations:  1) the transaction threatens to impair national security and these threats have not been mitigated during the 30-day review; 2) the transaction is a foreign government-controlled transaction and the CFIUS Chairman and Vice Chairman are unable to certify it poses no threat; or 3) the transaction prompts the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to identify  intelligence concerns that could threaten national security, and these threats have not been mitigated during the 30-day review.  The bill also contains numerous other provisions to strengthen the CFIUS review process.

Watch Chairman Barney Frank during the debate >>

Click here to read the National Security FIRST Act >>