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US Congressman Cummings Votes for Bill that Would Provide Greater Scrutiny of Foreign Transactions

Washington, DC: U.S. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) has voted with 422 of his colleagues in support of the National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act of 2007, H.R. 556. Congressman Cummings is an original co-sponsor of this legislation, which is intended to ensure that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) strengthens its oversight of planned U.S. investments involving entities owned by foreign individuals or governments.

Congressman Cummings released the following statement on H.R. 556: "Last year, the proposed sale of the P&O firm - which manages terminal operations at major East Coast ports, including the Port of Baltimore - to a company controlled by the government of Dubai raised several significant issues to the attention of Congress.

"In addition to making many aware for the first time that operations in American seaports are frequently managed by foreign interests, the sale brought renewed attention to the significant gaps in our port security regime.

"Further, the proposed deal revealed the inadequacy of our systems for assessing the security risks that the increasingly global nature of business ownership relationships may pose - not just in the port management industry but in almost all critical industries in the U.S.

"Fulfilling our unwavering commitment to the security of our homeland, the Democratic leadership has moved systematically to address the security concerns raised by the proposed sale of P&O to Dubai.

"The first piece of legislation the House considered and passed this year- H.R. 1 - would close an enormous gap in port security by requiring the examination of all shipping containers bound for the U.S.

"The bill we passed today, H.R. 556, will reform the processes of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to ensure that this Committee casts greater scrutiny on transactions involving entities owned by foreign individuals or governments - and to ensure that Congress receives the information it needs to oversee this process.

"As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I understand the critical need to balance security and economics - particularly at our ports.

"However, we must ensure that the CFIUS process - which is as much a part of our homeland security system as any scanner or radiation detector - is adequate to ensure that the implications of all transactions involving foreign entities are fully understood and that only those investments that pose no national security risks are allowed to move forward."