April 13, 2021

Republican Senators Seek Briefing on Biden Admin Plans to Protect Sensitive U.S. Technologies

WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) are seeking a briefing from the U.S. Treasury Department and related intelligence and law enforcement partners about the steps the Biden administration is taking to ensure the integrity of reviews done by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
 
The senators, the leading Republicans on the Senate Judiciary, Finance and Banking Committees, have concerns about foreign governments circumventing CFIUS, which vets the sale of companies involved in sensitive technology and intellectual property to foreign entities. The transfer of advanced technologies, particularly to foreign competitors or adversaries like the Chinese government, can have serious national security implications.
 
The senators requested a classified briefing by May 1. Full text of their letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen follows or can be found HERE.
 
April 13, 2021
 
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Janet Yellen
Secretary
Department of the Treasury
 
Dear Secretary Yellen:
 
During the course of our oversight activities, we’ve taken serious interest in the transfer of technology, intellectual property and the decision-making process of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  We remain concerned about foreign governments, such as China, potentially taking actions to evade CFIUS reviews in an attempt to undermine U.S. superiority in leading edge technologies, the CFIUS process, the rules of export controls and trade, and, as a result, our country’s national security.[1]
 
We ask that the Biden administration explain how it will approach and handle the threat of foreign government efforts evading the CFIUS process and what, if any, steps the administration has already taken to thoroughly vet sensitive transactions in order to ensure the integrity of the CFIUS process and U.S. national security. 
 
Accordingly, we request that Treasury and its relevant intelligence community and law enforcement partners provide an appropriately classified briefing no later than May 1, 2021 on these matters.  Please contact Josh Flynn-Brown of Senator Grassley’s Committee staff at 202-224-5225, John O’Hara of Senator Crapo’s Committee staff at 202-224-4515, and Dylan Clement of Senator Toomey’s Committee staff at 202-224-7391 with any questions in preparation of this briefing.
Sincerely,
 
-30-



[1] Somerville, Heather. “Government ‘SWAT Team’ Is Reviewing Past Startup Deals Tied to Chinese Investors.” The Wall Street Journal, 31 Jan. 2021, www.wsj.com/articles/government-swat-team-is-reviewing-past-startup-deals-tied-to-chinese-investors-11612094401.