Shaheen, Rubio Applaud Move to Halt Transfer of Federal Retirement Savings to China

May 12, 2020

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed reports that the President has taken steps to prevent the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) from moving forward with a short-sighted decision to invest billions of dollars from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) — 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.

“It’s reckless to prop up companies that threaten U.S. interests and values, and it’s particularly egregious to do so with the hard-earned savings of federal workers, including our military and civilian workforce,” Shaheen said. “I’m pleased that the President has heeded our bipartisan call to put a stop to this. The President’s actions help send a unified message that there are consequences for China’s malign behavior.”

“I applaud the President for taking action and putting a stop to this misguided and deeply flawed decision by five unelected bureaucrats,” Rubio said. “There is strong bipartisan, bicameral opposition in Congress to this decision, which would effectively invest billions of dollars in retirement savings of America’s civil servants and military personnel in companies that assist in the Chinese government and Communist Party’s military activities, espionage, and human rights abuses, as well as many other Chinese companies that lack basic financial transparency and accountability.”

Last year, Rubio and Shaheen urged the FRTIB to reverse the decision. Rubio and Shaheen also led a group of lawmakers in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral Taxpayers and Savers Protection (TSP) Act, which would prevent the FRTIB from steering federal retirement savings to China. Specifically, the FRTIB plans to shift the TSP’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 to begin investing the retirement assets later this year. 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.