U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), along with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), received a response to their April 12th letter to President Biden’s four nominees for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB). The board nominees clarified that, if confirmed, they would not permit Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds to be invested in Chinese companies.
Tuberville wrote on social media, “$700 billion dollars in retirement investment from our nation’s military and federal civilian workforce should not be used to prop up China-based companies. I received confirmation from the Biden admin that they would uphold the Trump-era commitment to prohibit TSP investment in Chinese securities.”
Tuberville has repeatedly pressed the FRTIB to clarify its position on TSP investment in China, citing national security concerns in including Chinese securities in these workers’ retirement funds. As a result of this clarification from the FRTIB nominees, Tuberville will release his hold, a procedural maneuver to prevent confirmation without a vote by the full Senate, that he had placed on all four of President Biden’s nominees to the FRTIB earlier this year.
The four nominees, Dana Bilyeu, Leona M. Bridges, Michael F. Gerber and Stacie Olivares, wrote a letter to address the senators’ concerns.
“Thank you for your April 2022 letter and your interest in protecting the participants and beneficiaries of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP),” the Biden nominees to the FRTIB wrote, continuing, “In your letter, you explained you have serious concerns regarding potential TSP fund exposure to China-based companies. As fellow Americans, we share your concerns about investing in Chinese companies and are writing now to address these concerns.”
The nominees referenced actions of the FRTIB’s acting chair to avoid investments with China-based companies, stating, “We fully support the position of the acting Chair and would be highly skeptical of future recommendations to track this or any index that invests in Chinese companies, consistent with our fiduciary and statutory duties.”
They outlined additional steps they would take and ended their letter, “Finally, you also asked us to ensure that TSP funds do not invest in any Chinese firms that undermine U.S. national security. We agree it is unfitting for Americans to invest in companies from China or elsewhere that undermine U.S. national security.”
The TSP is a 401(k)-style investment fund managed by the FRTIB. It is over $700 billion dollars in size and is utilized by 6,000,000 members of our nation’s military and federal civilian workforce. In May of 2021, Senator Tuberville introduced legislation to prohibit investment of TSP funds in any entity based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Tuberville is in his first term representing Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs and HELP Committees. The former Auburn University head football coach defeated incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Alabama) in the 2020 election.
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