The administration is desperate to “avert an impending political showdown” with Congress about the UAE port deal. Over the weekend, the White House worked out an arrangement with Dubai Ports World whereby the company would “voluntarily” submit the sale of port operations to an additional 45-day review.
The showdown has not been averted. The review, under current law, would be meaningless. The report would be secret. Only President Bush and the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) would get to review it. Both Bush and CFIUS have already decided the deal does not present any national security concerns.
Today, a bipartisan group of 10 members of Congress will introduce legislation that will give the review some teeth. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) talked about the legislation this morning on Good Morning America:
SCHUMER: Well, I’m not sure we have a truce. Our legislation, which is bipartisan, five Democrats, five Republicans — we’ll introduce it today on the floor of the Senate — says do the 45-day review that’s necessary, but it also says give Congress, not just the president, the findings and let Congress have an opportunity — 30 days — to disapprove the deal. That’s what’s needed, because the president has already decided. He said he’s for it. So he has the verdict already, and now he’s having the trial.
Any member of Congress who supports a meaningful review of the transaction should support this legislation.
UPDATE: More details on the bill from Sen. Robert Menedez (D-NJ).