WASHINGTON -- The House agreed yesterday to give the government broader powers to review foreign investments in US power plants, ports, and other facilities that could be vulnerable to terror attacks.
The legislation, passed 423 to 0, would give legal muscle to a once-obscure federal office that gained attention a year ago with the uproar over plans by a Dubai-owned company to manage six of the nation's largest ports.
The deal fell through after lawmakers from both parties said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, ignored serious national security concerns in signing off on the transaction.
The legislation, which now moves to the Senate, expands the definition of transactions that require CFIUS review to include those involving homeland security and critical infrastructures, and takes steps to ensure that high-level officials will be involved in decisions by the multi-agency group.
The secretaries of the departments of Homeland Security and Commerce are added as vice chairs of the group, which includes the heads of 13 departments and agencies. It requires the director of national intelligence to analyze any threat to national security posed by a deal.
"This bill contains very tough provisions to protect national security, including the ability for CFIUS to reopen reviews when companies don't comply with mitigation agreements designed to reduce security risks," said Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York .
The bill also ensures that Congress will be notified when investigations are completed.