Shaheen, Rubio Welcome Decision by TSP Board to Halt Transfer of Federal Retirement Savings to China

May 13, 2020

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed the announcement by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) that it would halt its 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.

 
“This is absolutely the right call,” Shaheen said. “It’s reckless to prop up companies that threaten U.S. interests and values, and it would be particularly egregious to do so with the hard-earned savings of federal workers, including our military and civilian workforce. I’m pleased that the President heeded our bipartisan call yesterday and that the Board has followed suit to put a stop to this. Today’s reversal sends a clear message to China that there are consequences for its malign behavior.”
 

“While it should never have taken the FRTIB this long to reverse their misguided, deeply flawed decision to invest federal retirement savings in opaque Chinese firms engaged in human rights abuses and a wide range of military-related activities, I appreciate the Board halting this action,” Rubio said. “There remains strong bipartisan, bicameral opposition in Congress to this decision, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to pass legislation that would ban the Board from moving forward with this type of action in the future.”


Last year, Shaheen and Rubio urged the FRTIB to reverse the decision. Shaheen and Rubio 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.