The U.S. House of Representatives will be considering a Senate-passed bill designed to prevent certain Chinese companies from appearing on the U.S. stock exchanges, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Her announcement this week signals a rare sign of bipartisan agreement amid Republican calls for increased pressure on China over its role in the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ll review it in the House,” Pelosi said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Thursday. “I’ve asked my committees to take a look at what it is.”
“There will be a significant push”
The referenced bill passed by unanimous consent in the Senate and would require all public companies to disclose ownership or control by foreign governments. Such companies would also further face audits by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
As a result, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would likely lead to some Chinese-owned companies being removed from the stock exchange lists.
Ed Mills, a policy analyst based in Washington, D.C., shared his belief that “there will be a significant push for the legislation to be taken up in the coming weeks,” expressing confidence that it will ultimately be signed into law.
He said the likely reason lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are willing to consider such legislation is that the “current political environment” has made them reticent “to be seen as supporting China.”
Trump has ramped up his public criticism of the communist regime after initially praising President Xi Jinping’s response to the coronavirus. That stance shifted last month, however, when the president announced his decision to withhold funding from the World Health Organization.
“We are not happy with China”
“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” Trump said at the time. “Instead, the WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face value.”
Days later, he took aim directly at the Chinese government, promising that the U.S. had launched “very serious investigations” against the nation.
“We are not happy with China,” he said. “We believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.”
It seems leaders in both parties recognize that China deserves even closer scrutiny than it has received in the past. It will be up to voters this November to determine which side has responded to the situation most appropriately.