Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect U.S. Manufacturing, National Security from Chinese Threats
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers—Reps. Harley Rouda (D-CA), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Kay Granger (R-TX), John Garamendi (D-CA), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Scott Perry (R-PA)—introduced H.R. 2729, the Transportation Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act, a bill combatting Chinese efforts to undermine the U.S. economy and national security. The bill would prevent federal transit funds from being used by transit agencies to procure Chinese rail assets from state-owned companies, while ensuring U.S. transit agencies develop and execute a cybersecurity plan to mitigate potential risks. In the Senate, the companion bill was led by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Mike Crapo (R-ID).
“Our government should use taxpayer dollars to support American manufacturing and jobs, not Chinese state-owned companies. By consistently underbidding, these heavily-subsidized Chinese rail and bus manufacturers have won transit contracts in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. It should concern every American that we have entrusted the safety and security of U.S. transit systems to the Chinese government—a fierce competitor and cyber adversary,” said Congressman Ryan. “While we’re stuck in a 24-hour news cycle, China is devising and executing plans to dominate global industries and markets over the next 10, 50, and 100 years. Let this be a wake-up call for the United States. It’s time we take the economic and national security threat posed by China seriously, and this bill does just that.”
“I’m proud to be the lead sponsor of this important piece of legislation with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX),” said Congressman Rouda. “China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative is an unmistakable effort to harm American manufacturers by subsidizing Chinese rail and bus industries. Chinese companies misrepresent themselves as benevolent actors, but let’s be clear: this is an attack on our economy and national security. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to stop the flow of Americans’ taxpayer dollars to Chinese state-owned or state-supported companies.”
Said Congressman Crawford, “When Chinese companies swoop in to undercut contract bids for American rail projects, their only goal is to decimate our manufacturing sector by dumping cheap parts into our economy, while stealing intelligence and threatening our national security. The Transportation Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act is absolutely critical to protect our nation against foreign threats and cybersecurity attacks which have become more prevalent in this digital age.”
“I appreciate the bipartisan leadership in this effort to counter China’s growing threat to infiltrate and undermine American industries. Our bipartisan proposal is a common sense way to protect the American People and defend our National security. Thanks to Congressman Harley Rouda and Senator John Cornyn for their work on this important legislation,” said Congressman Perry.
“The security of public transit in the nation’s capital must be a top priority,” Congresswoman Norton said. “China is not making these railcars so cheaply out of the goodness of its heart. Until we have irrefutable evidence, we must not turn a blind eye to the clear incentive China has to monitor our capital and undermine our security.”
The Chinese government continues to use a range of state subsidies and predatory practices to support its market ascension in certain sectors of the United States’ economy. Two of these sectors, rail manufacturing and bus manufacturing, are included as part of China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, a plan targeting global dominance in areas that the Chinese government considers most strategic to its global aims.
Chinese state-owned and state-supported enterprises have used subsidized “bargain prices” well-below competitive market price to win contracts throughout the United States. A number of large, metropolitan areas have recently awarded rail rolling stock procurements to a Chinese state-owned enterprise. There are a number of threats these procurements pose including impeding economic competitiveness and overtaking the supply chains that support United States public transportation agencies. Chinese state-owned and state-supported enterprises have increased security vulnerabilities and create new risks for rolling stock procurements.
Specifically, the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act would enact:
- Limitation on Certain Rolling Stock Procurements: This legislation prevents federal transit dollars from being used to award a contract or subcontract for the procurement of passenger rail cars or transit buses to Chinese state-owned, controlled or subsidized enterprises. The bill would create a certification process for transit agencies to ensure their funds are not being used to purchase rolling stock from a covered manufacturer. A narrow exception would be made for transportation agencies with a pre-existing contract or subcontract with a covered rail rolling stock manufacturer executed prior to the date of enactment.
- Cybersecurity Certification: Given the level of technology and growing complexity of rail rolling stock assets, it is important that proper cybersecurity standards are in place. This legislation would require any transit operator that operates rail transit service to develop and execute a plan for identifying and reducing cybersecurity risks. Recipients of federal transit assistance would be required to review best practices and to identify any hardware and software components of new rolling stock assets that should undergo third-party testing.