July 27, 2023

Scott Secures Wins in Defense Bill

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) legislation to address the fentanyl crisis, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, is included in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Ranking Member’s bill uses economic sanctions to target the financial assets of drug traffickers and Chinese fentanyl suppliers. The legislation’s inclusion in the NDAA is the result of Ranking Member Scott’s efforts to garner 66 Senate cosponsors, highlight the bill in hearings, and secure its unanimous passage at the Senate Banking Committee’s first legislative markup since 2019. Read more about the FEND Off Fentanyl Act here.

"We must recognize the fentanyl crisis for what it is: a threat to our national security and to the future of our country. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act's inclusion in the Senate's defense bill acknowledges this reality and protects Americans from the deadly drug cartels and Chinese fentanyl suppliers who poison our communities. As the Chinese Communist Party challenges America across every domain and dangerous cartels exploit our open borders, it's time for our country to answer their aggressions with strength by targeting and seizing the money that fuels the fentanyl trade."

In addition to his fentanyl sanctions legislation, the Senate unanimously voted to include Ranking Member Scott’s amendment to address the Chinese military’s influence on U.S. higher education in the NDAA. In 2020, the U.S. Department of State warned that the Chinese Communist Party influences academic research and engages in intellectual property theft. The Ranking Member’s bill requires the Secretary of the Treasury to report gifts and grants given to U.S. universities from entities in the Chinese military-industrial complex—a commonsense step to protect American education and sensitive research from malign influence.

“Every year, undisclosed sources within the People’s Republic of China send millions of dollars…to U.S. colleges and universities. The sad fact is we know too little about that. My amendment will be the first step in understanding their impact,” Ranking Member Scott said in a speech on the floor in support of his amendment.

As a result of Ranking Member Scott’s support, other key provisions that counter the threat of the Chinese Communist Party were secured in the Senate’s NDAA. The Ranking Member played a central role in shaping an amendment that requires the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review national security risks when foreign entities make large purchases of U.S. agricultural land. Chinese entities now hold over 380,000 acres of America’s agricultural land, more than four times the acreage held last decade. Ranking Member Scott was also instrumental in the crafting of an amendment on outbound investment that would require U.S. firms to notify the Treasury Department when pursuing sensitive technology investments and transactions in countries of concern. The amendment preserves U.S. leadership in key industries vital to national security, such as artificial intelligence and semiconductors, while also detecting U.S. investments that could aid America’s adversaries.