The two Republicans representing Florida in the U.S. Senate–Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–are looking to ensure that the retirement savings of federal employees are not in controlled by the communist regime in China.
This week, with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, as the main cosponsor, Rubio brought out the “Taxpayers and Savers Protection (TSP) Act” to ensure the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) will not send federal retirement savings to China. Scott and U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, are also cosponsoring the bill.
“The TSP Act would conditionally ban the investment of Thrift Savings Plan funds in securities listed on mainland Chinese exchanges. In particular, it would prohibit investment in issuers listed on foreign securities exchanges where America’s Public Company Accounting and Oversight Board (PCAOB) has not issued an audit inspection and where the PCAOB is prevented from conducting such inspections,” Rubio’s office noted.
“The TSP Act would stop the FRTIB from moving forward with a short-sighted decision to shift the Thrift Savings Plan’s International Fund Index to the MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Investable Market Index that includes Chinese companies under U.S. sanctions and U.S. export bans. The FRTIB currently plans next year to begin investing the retirement assets of federal government employees, including members of the U.S. Armed Forces, in opaque Chinese firms engaged in human rights abuses and a wide range of military-related activities, effectively funding the Chinese government and Communist Party’s efforts to undermine U.S. economic and national security. The move would also place federal savers and their beneficiaries at risk by directing their savings into Chinese firms that fail to live up to the accounting and financial disclosure levels that are standard in developed markets,” Rubio’s office added.
The senators weighed in on Wednesday as to why they were backing the proposal.
“Today makes clear that a bipartisan, bicameral coalition in Congress will not sit on the sidelines and allow the TSP Board to funnel the federal retirement savings of U.S. service members and federal employees to the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said. “America’s investors should never be a source of wealth funding Beijing’s rise at the expense of our nation’s future prosperity, and the TSP Board should not force U.S. service members and federal employees to unwittingly undermine the American national security interests that they work hard every day to protect.”
“There’s absolutely no reason we should be using U.S. taxpayer dollars to prop up companies under the control of Communist China, which continues to steal our technology, abuse human rights and build up its military to compete with us,” Scott said. “We have to take a stand against Communist China, and I’m proud to co-sponsor the Taxpayers and Savers Protection (TSP) Act to protect the retirement savings of federal employees from investments tied to China. No one should be doing business with Communist China, and the TSP Act is a logical step.”
“It is unacceptable that the hard-earned savings of our U.S. service members and public servants could be invested without their knowledge in Chinese companies that undermine the very strategic national interests they’re sworn to protect. If the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is going to drag its feet on reversing the decision that would allow this dangerous policy to go into effect, then Congress must act,” Shaheen said. “This isn’t complicated – investments of our federal workers and armed forces should not fund companies that could help the Chinese government carry out nefarious attacks, from spying on U.S. citizens to committing gross human rights abuses.”
“Hardworking Americans should not be forced to give a cent of their retirement savings to foreign adversaries’ firms that may be complicit in activities that harm our national security,” Gillibrand said. “Our federal and military employees should know that their savings are being invested responsibly. That’s why I’m proud to support the Taxpayers and Savers Protection Act, which would ban the investment of thrift savings funds of our service members and federal workers in Chinese companies that may defy American oversight rules. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation to protect Americans’ retirement savings.”
“Deliberately choosing to invest the retirement savings of hardworking Americans in state-owned and state-directed firms in China effectively funds the Communist Party’s efforts to undermine our economic and national security,” Romney said. “Congress must act now to prevent the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board from steering the retirement savings of our federal employees and military members into the hands of China’s Communist Party.”
“This bipartisan legislation ensures that our servicemembers’ retirement savings will not flow to companies with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party,” Hawley said. “The U.S. government has no business pursuing an investment strategy that undermines our national security and underwrites the Chinese military.”
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, is championing the proposal in the U.S. House.
“Our country should never send taxpayers’ hard-earned retirement dollars to effectively fund companies in communist China,” Meadows said. “The TSP Act is a common sense initiative to reverse a misguided decision to invest billions in federal retirement dollars in Chinese companies in 2020. I am proud to support it and encourage my colleagues to join this initiative. This bill protects American citizens from risky retirement investments at odds with our national security interests and demonstrates our government’s willingness to stand up to a regime that actively undermines human rights. Federal retirement funds must never be invested in a way that threatens the very economic and national security millions of current and future retirees devoted their careers to protect.”
At the end of last month, Rubio and Jeanne Shaheen wrote Michael Kennedy, the chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), urging him to reverse a decision to shift the Thrift Savings Plan’s (TSP) International (I) Fund Index to the MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Investable Market Index (ACWI ex-US IMI) ahead of the Board’s October 28 meeting. In August, Rubio and Shaheen urged the FRTIB to reverse the decision and requested responses to questions posed in their letter no later than September 6. The senators insisted Kennedy’s response failed to address their questions though he confirmed that the Board will be reviewing the decision at its upcoming meeting.
Rick Scott, Gillibrand, Romney and Hawley all signed the letter.
“The decision to shift the TSP’s I Funds Index will expose nearly $50 billion in retirement assets of federal government employees, including members of the U.S. Armed Forces, to severe and undisclosed material risks associated with many of the Chinese companies listed on the MSCI ACWI ex-US IMI. If implemented, the decision will effectively use these retirement savings to fund the Chinese government and Communist Party’s efforts to undermine U.S. economic and national security,” Rubio’s office insisted.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.