HOMELAND SECURITY & CRE - June 29, 2018 - Roundtable Weekly

House Follows Senate in Passing Bills Addressing Foreign Investment Risk; Includes Language Affecting Real Estate

The House of Representatives on June 26 voted 400-2 to pass legislation (H.R. 5841) that overhauls federal review of transactions involving foreign companies or countries, including certain real estate transactions. The Senate on June 18 passed its version of the legislation (S. 2098).  (Dechert, June 2018) 

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Both the House and Senate FIRRMA bills would expand the list of covered transactions to include some foreign purchases and leases of real estate near military and other strategic facilities.

  • The bills would update the review authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) to review national security implications of transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person – and to block transactions or impose measures to mitigate any threats to U.S. security.

  • Both the House and Senate bills would expand the list of covered transactions to include some foreign purchases and leases of real estate near military and other strategic facilities.  Responding to concerns raised by The Roundtable and other industry groups, each bill includes similar language designed to exempt real estate located in 'urbanized areas' from the criteria of a covered transaction.  [See Title II, Sec. 201 in the House’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRMMA) and for S. 2098, see  pages 7 through 9].  The Census defines an urbanized area as one comprising more than 50,000 people.

While the House and Senate bills are similar, the definition of “critical technology” differs and will require reconciliation before a final vote in each chamber. The Trump Administration has shown support for reforming FIRRMA to strengthen CFIUS’ oversight.

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