After several months of back-and-forth, the Senate and House of Representatives agreed on a consensus version of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) on July 23. FIRRMA reforms the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process currently used to evaluate and address national security-related concerns related to foreign investment into the United States. While originally introduced separately, the bill was ultimately incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The final version of the NDAA emerged from conference on July 26 and was overwhelmingly approved by the House later that day and by the Senate on August 1. The president is expected to sign the NDAA into law shortly.
CFIUS (the Committee) is an interagency committee that exercises delegated presidential authority to review “covered transactions,” which are currently defined by statute as mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers by or with any foreign entity that could result in foreign “control” of a U.S. business, to determine the effect of the proposed deal on U.S. national security. The Committee is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and its voting members include the heads of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Energy; the U.S. Trade Representative; and head of the White House Office of Science and Technology. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Secretary of Labor serve as non-voting, ex officio members. Other White House offices and personnel may act as observers and participate in CFIUS reviews on an ad hoc basis.