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House, Senate pass bills limiting authority of US foreign investment committee

[JURIST] Both houses of the US Congress passed bills Wednesday that impose investigation guidelines on the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder], the panel that approved a Dubai-owned company to manage US ports earlier this year. The Bush administration was criticized [JURIST report] for signing off on the transaction without giving adequate consideration to national security concerns, and the deal with United Arab Emirates-owned Dubai Ports World [corporate website] eventually fell through [JURIST report]. The bills require signatures by the secretaries of the US Departments of Homeland Security, Commerce and Treasury [official websites] before the approval of any investment that involves foreign governments or may threaten key US infrastructure. They also call for 45-day investigations into any investments by companies owned by foreign governments.

CFIUS was established following the passage of a 1988 law that gives the president the authority to stop foreign transactions with the US because of national security concerns. The US Senate [official website] passed a version [S 3549 bill summary] of the bill by voice vote, while the House of Representatives [official website] approved its version [HR 5337 bill summary] unanimously. The two houses of Congress will now have to reconcile their bills. AP has more.

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