So, you thought that after the Dubai ports deal, America was on its way towards making sure our "free" trade policy has national security safeguards? Think again. Yes, that's right - just weeks after the controversy of the Dubai ports deal, the Financial Times today reports that "Washington's most powerful business lobbyists patted each other on the back this week after an intense lobbying campaign helped water down proposed legislation that will make the national security review process tougher for foreign companies buying sensitive US assets."
The legislation was sponsored by Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby - and even the watered down version is in for more trouble. The Financial Times also notes that corporate lobbyists will "try to weaken three provisions in the bill: the notification requirements, which the person said threatened to politicise deals; the ability for one [federal] agency to request an extra 30-day review of any deal; and a proposal that the White House use a ranking of countries, which would create tiers of nations according to their relationship with the US, when reviewing transactions." And, undoubtedly, the same bought-off politicians who originally watered down the bill will help further weaken it on the Senate floor.
The only good news from Congress's willingness to sell out America's security to Big Money interests is that it gives courageous political candidates yet another way to highlight just how corrupt our government really is. As just one example, look at Ohio where Senate candidate (and current congressman) Sherrod Brown has been using the issue to highlight how America's "free" trade policies are endangering our country in the post-9/11 world. In the process, he is reframing the national security debate in both an accurate and politically advantageous way.
The fact is, this entire issue exposes exactly where Congress's loyalties really lie. Despite all the hot air you hear from politicians about their desire to protect America, despite all the lip service paid to supposedly trying to prevent another 9/11, it's clear that in Washington, money talks, and all other priorities get the shaft.