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COLUMN — Getting tough on China

Even as Congress adapts to new realities during the COVID-19 pandemic, I continue to work with the House China Task Force to combat aggression by the Chinese Communist Party. This week I co-sponsored legislation to combat Chinese aggression against our economy and against our national health and security.

The Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act will help safeguard American technology. This bill would allow President Trump to impose sanctions on foreign actors engaging in hacking that could harm our economic and national security or public health by attempting to steal COVID-19 research and vaccine data. This legislation, sponsored by Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, is essential in allowing U.S. vaccine makers to protect their work from bad actors who wish us harm. I will continue to work with the China Task Force to find solutions to the challenging issues we face. 

Recently, I sent a letter to Labor Department Secretary Gene Scalia asking him to repeal a rule that allows Chinese companies to be included in U.S. retirement portfolios. Some of these companies fail to meet transparency standards that are required for American investment but have been permitted on waivers since the Obama administration. This means that Americans may have their savings invested in companies that use child labor and abuse human rights. This creates a situation where Americans are accidentally profiting off of these horrific practices. This rule needs to be repealed.

I am proud of the work that President Trump and his administration are doing to find a vaccine for COVID-19.  Operation Warp Speed is moving at a record pace to advance the science and technology we need to combat the pandemic. The program has already produced several vaccine candidates that are in the final phase of clinical trials. The program will only approve a final vaccine when experts agree it is safe and effective.

Denver Riggleman represents Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached by visiting https://riggleman.house.gov/ or by phone at (434) 973-9631.