May 21, 2021

Risch, Rubio, Colleagues Push Amendment to Protect American Research from China

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, yesterday joined U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, in filing an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act (S.1260) to establish a counterintelligence screening process to protect the United States against efforts by China and other adversaries to engage in economic espionage and misappropriate America’s intellectual property, research and development, and innovation efforts.

The amendment is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), all members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) actively engages in the theft of sensitive, critical, and emerging technologies and research in the United States,” said Risch. “The Endless Frontier Act invests a significant amount of money into U.S. research and development programs, but that investment is worthless if our innovations are going to be immediately stolen by adversaries, including the CCP. This amendment would put into place the necessary safeguards to protect U.S. companies, universities, and other institutions from this threat.”

“China also exploits U.S. universities to acquire U.S. technology, shape narratives favorable to the CCP, and conduct research that benefits the Communist Party and the Chinese military,” continued Risch. “China doesn’t always have to rely on theft to acquire our technology: it can simply sign contracts or engage in partnerships with universities in the United States and get the access it needs. The entire Senate must work together to ensure the U.S. government has authority to review and block harmful transactions before our technology is compromised or China’s malign influence takes root. The CFIUS provision in my Strategic Competition Act is a small investment, given the large cost of the Endless Frontier Act, to protect our ideas, research, and intellectual property before it’s too late.”

The “Counterintelligence and National Security Protections” amendment would:

  • Establish a counterintelligence screening process jointly executed by the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, and the Director of the FBI, to protect the United States against China’s and other adversaries’ efforts to engage in economic espionage and misappropriate our intellectual property, our research and development, and our innovation efforts. This counterintelligence screening process will protect America’s research and innovation by requiring the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, and the Director of the FBI to certify that anyone receiving funds under this Act has sufficient protections against foreign government threats.
  • Require that, before an applicant can obtain certification to receive funds under this Act, the applicant must disclose for the Directors’ evaluation any:
    • Foreign funding received in the past ten years;
    • Financial or in-kind support from any entity owned or controlled by China, or any entity in which China has an ownership interest; and
    • Participation in a foreign government talent recruitment program.

The CFIUS provision in the Strategic Competition Act would:

  • Expand the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review foreign gifts or contracts that total $1 million or more over two years to U.S. universities that:
    • Relate to research on critical U.S. technologies or provide influence over university departments, centers, or other programs.
  • Require universities to report foreign gifts over $250,000 to CFIUS. This ensures all U.S. national security agencies know who is giving universities money.