Washington, D.C.— U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) introduced the Higher Education Research Protection Act of 2021 and the National Security Through America’s Resources and Permitting Reform Act of 2021.  The two bills are part of Congressman Barr’s ongoing efforts to confront the political, military, economic and technological threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  More on these bills below:

The Higher Education Research Protection Act of 2021 establishes an initiative at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to root out CCP espionage and influence operations at American colleges and universities.  The bill creates 56 new Special Agent slots at the FBI, one for each FBI Field Office nationwide, who will be singularly focused on investigating and eliminating CCP espionage operations at universities and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. 

CCP espionage schemes on college campuses have led to a string of criminal indictments related to CCP theft of American research on missile and aerospace technology.  CCP espionage efforts through schemes like the “Thousand Talents Plan” are so pervasive and widespread throughout the United States, that FBI Director Christopher Wray said during Congressional testimony in April that every 10 hours the FBI opens an investigation into a new CCP espionage operation.  Director Wray also said in the same testimony that CCP espionage investigations have skyrocketed by 1,300% over the last several years.

Congressman Barr offered the following statement on this legislation to Fox News, which broke the news on this bill introduction: “The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Thousand Talents scheme of stealing research at American universities is a serious national security threat.  My proposal shows the CCP the U.S. is serious about cracking down on this espionage scheme and equips the FBI with resources to stop the CCP’s theft of research at American universities in its tracks.”

The National Security Through America’s Resources and Permitting Reform Act of 2021 brings home an essential supply chain resource and protects national security.  This legislation streamlines and expedites approval processes for coal related projects that extract, recover, and process rare earth elements, critical minerals, and carbon.  

An estimated 80% of rare-earth elements used in military weaponry like the F-35 fighter aircraft are produced in China.  To kickstart domestic production of rare-earth elements and other critical minerals, Congressman Barr’s legislation amends the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to expand eligibility for FAST 41 permitting.

Congressman Barr offered the following statement on this legislation to Bloomberg News, which broke the news of this bill introduction: “My legislation fosters the domestic production of rare-earth and critical minerals used in national security technology as well as in the daily lives of Americans through computers, televisions, and vehicles.  Bringing second life and purpose to one of the United States’ most abundant resources—coal—will strengthen our supply chain and protect national security.”