Shaheen & Rubio Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Banning TSP Board from Steering Federal Retirement Savings to ChinaNovember 06, 2019
(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) today led a group of lawmakers in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral Taxpayers and Savers Protection (TSP) Act, which would prevent the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) from steering federal retirement savings to China. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN) joined Shaheen and Rubio in introducing the bill, and U.S. Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) will be introducing the companion bill in the House.
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.
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.
“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,” said Senator Shaheen. “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.”
“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,” said Senator Rubio. “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.”
Senators Shaheen and Rubio have led the charge in Congress urging the TSP board to reverse its decision that would steer federal retirement savings to China. They first called on the board to change course in August and again in October ahead of a planned board meeting on the dangerous policy.
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