WASHINGTON — It was a fairly rare demonstration of bipartisanship Wednesday when a foreign investment bill offered by Rep. Lee Terry sailed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee with support from liberal Democrats and red-state Republicans.
His proposal would order a study on how to clear the way for more direct foreign investment in the United States.
“I know it's another study, but this one really is focused on removing the barriers,” Terry said.
The Republican said U.S. affiliates of foreign firms employ millions of Americans and pump billions of dollars into the economy in the manufacturing sector alone.
Still, the United States has faced challenges in attracting foreign investment in recent years and lawmakers are looking to reverse that trend, Terry said.
“We need to attract more investment,” Terry said. “That grows the economy and creates jobs.”
The hope is to find ways of improving the climate in the United States for direct foreign investment, and the study required by the legislation will form the foundation for additional legislation down the road.
Terry said the bill could be on the House floor as early as next week. It contains a few restrictions on the study.
The secretary of commerce is required to report the review's findings within the next year and submit “recommendations for increasing the global competitiveness of the United States in attracting foreign direct investment without weakening labor, consumer, financial or environmental protections.”
It's the first bill Terry is moving in his new role as chairman of the commerce, manufacturing and trade subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.