It’s time to ban companies with ties to China’s government from building U.S. transit.
Congress is out of session for the August recess, which means that the nation’s legislative business is on hold for a few weeks.
But Members have a packed agenda waiting for them when they return in the fall, including finalizing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It’s a massive bill that authorizes the Defense Department, and included in this year’s version is language that could potentially impact hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and our national security.
No pressure, Congress.
As we’ve outlined before, there are major security and economic concerns about China’s role in building U.S. transit. The Senate moved to address these threats when it passed its version of the NDAA by including language to ban Chinese government-owned or controlled companies from using U.S. taxpayer dollars to build U.S. rail cars and buses.
When the House passed its version, however, the ban only applied to rail.
The reason? Folks like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) support bus maker Build Your Dreams (BYD) – a company that maintains strong ties to China’s government (and has ambitious plans to dominate the global auto market, which threatens hundreds of thousands U.S. jobs).
Now the legislation is headed to conference, and negotiators from the Senate and the House will determine whether to move forward with the Senate version or the House version. Or, they could very well scrap the language all together in order to ensure passage of the NDAA.
That’s what happened earlier this year, in fact, when similar language was included as part of the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending bill (a.k.a., the legislation that avoided another government shutdown). Because of the complaints of McCarthy, the provision was scrapped and not included as part of the final legislation.
It’s important that negotiators get it right this time.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing has been sounding the alarm about this issue for quite awhile now; our President Scott Paul even testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee about it earlier this year.
But you don’t just have take our word for it.
Julie Carrigan, the head of the Transportation Security Agency’s threat analysis division, recently said that state-sponsored actors have the potential to be more menacing to U.S. critical infrastructure like transportation than terrorists, Politico reported.
China topped her list of threats.
China’s government-owned and controlled companies aren’t friendly players. Backed by big government subsidies, these companies severely underbid their competitors to land transit contracts. The aim isn’t to make money, as would be the goal of a company operating in a free market system. China wants to take over the market and dominate global transit.
Why should the United States sit back and allow China to do this – and with U.S. taxpayer money, natch?
Please join us in telling Congress to pass legislation to ban China’s government-owned and controlled companies from building U.S. rail cars and buses.