Detail

Senate and House Committees to Mark Up Bills Addressing Foreign Investment Risk Review on May 22; Includes Language Affecting Urban Real Estate

  • May 18, 2018

Legislation that would reform the process for reviewing foreign investment risk introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate and Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC) in the House – including a purchase or lease of domestic properties in close proximity to sensitive U.S. facilities by a foreign party – will be marked up May 22 by both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.

The Senate Banking Committee will mark up S. 2098 – the  Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 (FIRRMA)  – on Tuesday, May 22.  The revised real estate provision appears on page nine of the committee’s amended  legislative discussion draft .   

  • The legislation (S. 2098) is intended to modernize and strengthen the process by which the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews acquisitions, mergers, and other foreign investments in the United States for national security risks.
  • The Senate Banking Committee will mark up S. 2098 – the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 (FIRRMA) – on Tuesday, May 22.  The revised real estate provision appears on page nine of the committee’s amended legislative discussion draft.  
  • The original Senate legislative draft raised concerns about the implications for real estate investment in urban areas that may be in close proximity to "sensitive U.S. military installations or other U.S. government facilities".  As a result of industry discussions with Senate and Treasury staff, the new draft Manager's Amendment includes the addition of a definition that would exempt real estate in 'urbanized areas' – as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau – from the criteria of a "covered" transaction.  The Census Bureau identifies two types of urban areas: (1) Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people; and (2) Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people).
  • The Hill reports that the House Financial Services Committee will also mark up a CFIUS bill next week.  (The Hill, May 16, House Panel Will Consider Bill to Boost Foreign Investment Review Powers Next Week)
  • According to Bloomberg Law, The House committee will take up a modified bill from the original (H.R. 4311) on May 22. “I think that we'll hopefully have a bill that's broadly supported on both sides of the aisle,” Hensarling said. “We'll see what happens on Tuesday.” (Bloomberg Law, May 17, Foreign Investment Bill to Get Votes in House, Senate Panels, subscription only)

“The revised bill, according to drafts reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, would have the government vet domestic and overseas transactions through separate processes. The proposed legislation spells out CFIUS’s authority to vet the purchase or lease of real estate near sensitive U.S. facilities, and its right to review any deal structured to evade its jurisdiction such as transactions that use shell companies to obfuscate the would-be buyer’s ownership.  Both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee … now plan to mark up the bill’s text as soon as next week after reaching the compromise.”  (The Wall Street Journal, May 17, Legislation to Curb Chinese Deals Moves Through Congress)