A bipartisan group of senators have reintroduced a bill to prohibit assets managed by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Washington, from being invested in Chinese companies.
The Taxpayers and Savers Protection Act of 2023, or TSP Act, would prevent the investment of Thrift Savings Plan assets in companies listed on the exchanges of a "country of concern," headquartered in a country of concern or substantially controlled by a country of concern. In addition to China, the countries of concern are Iran, North Korea and Russia.
The bill was reintroduced Wednesday by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. A version of the bill was last introduced during the previous congressional session in May 2021 but did not move.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that the Chinese Communist Party and government continues to profit from the retirement accounts of U.S. government employees and members of the military," Mr. Rubio said in a news release. "Congress can't sit on the sidelines and allow the TSP Board to fund Beijing's rise at the expense of our nation's future prosperity and national security interests."
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board administers the $780 billion Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement system for 6.8 million federal employees and members of the uniformed services.
The bill stipulates that no TSP assets could be invested in such companies "through a mutual fund made available through any mutual fund window." In June 2022, the board opened a mutual fund window, which now provides access for eligible TSP participants to invest in thousands of mutual funds. Mr. Rubio last year raised concerns that some funds have exposure to Chinese companies.
Mr. Rubio has long focused on the TSP and China. In February he introduced a bill similar in scope to bar TSP assets from being invested in certain Chinese companies. And last year, he held up the nominations of four current board members until after they said they have no plans to invest TSP assets in Chinese companies.
A board spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.