U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) took to the Senate floor on Monday to force a hearing on President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB).
The FRTIB is charged with overseeing the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a retirement investment plan utilized by members of the U.S. Armed Forces and federal civilian workforce. Nominees to the board typically enjoy the privilege of being allowed to forgo a hearing prior to Senate confirmation.
Any senator can force a hearing on the board’s nominees by objecting to their privileged status. Alabama’s junior senator has done just that, requesting that the nominees appear before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for a hearing.
Tuberville expressed concerns over Americans’ pensions being exposed to the Chinese Communist Party by way of their investments being directed to companies with ties to the dictatorial regime. Earlier this year, the freshman senator introduced legislation that would bar TSP funds from being invested in Chinese companies.
Former President Donald Trump prohibited the prior board from moving forward with its plans to invest billions of dollars in China. However, the Trump-era ban is no longer in place, leading Tuberville to call for hearings to ensure the nominees will not direct funds to be invested in the communist nation.
“The members of this board make decisions impacting the retirement savings of millions of Americans, this is a huge responsibility,” said Tuberville. “Recognizing that responsibility, the Trump administration rightfully put in place a ban on TSP investment in Chinese companies, but that ban is no longer enforced, exposing these Americans to significant economic risk and undermining U.S. national security interests.”
Tuberville stated that he believes FRTIB should be vigilant in protecting Americans’ investments due to the hostile nature of the Chinese government.
“Because Congress has given the board oversight of retirement investment of millions of Americans, and because the previous China investment plan is no longer in place, Congress has a duty to thoroughly vet these nominees,” he added. “Our adversaries are trying to do everything possible to get a leg up on the United States. Because we’re the greatest country on the face of the earth, investments in companies with Chinese Communist Party ties are a direct threat to our national security.
The senator went on to note the alliance Chinese companies hold with their government is working to undermine international norms and partake in fraudulent business practices.
“Such investments funnel capital to companies that commonly violate U.S. sanction laws and that are actively working to facilitate China’s military expansion and the persecution of religious minorities,” continued Tuberville. “Chinese companies are notorious for their deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party and for their support of government surveillance and espionage activities. Chinese companies also have a long history of costing investors billions in losses by manipulating financial reporting statements and failing to comply with basic audit standards in an effort to artificially their success.”
He concluded, “Protecting these Americans’ investments and our country’s national security is a serious issue requiring serious consideration. Our nation’s military and civilian public servants have a right to know the nominee’s views on this issue since the preservation of their retirement savings hangs in the balance.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL