March 24, 2006

Senator Proposes More Oversight on Contracts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee proposed on Friday to give Congress more oversight of how foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies are approved, a process currently dominated by the executive branch of government.

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, set out draft legislation with requirements for officials to report to Congress on proposed deals such as the recent contract involving Dubai Ports World. But Shelby stopped short of giving Congress a veto over such deals.

A statement said the bill would require longer U.S. reviews of deals involving foreign state-owned companies or "critical" U.S. infrastructure. It would make the Defense Department vice chair of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, which is chaired by Treasury and reviews acquisitions of U.S. companies that may involve national security.