Barr-led bill would bolster congressional oversight of U.S.-China science, tech pacts

Rep. Andy Barr

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) on Aug. 22 sponsored legislation that would amend current law to require certain congressional notification prior to entering into, renewing, or extending a science and technology agreement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“America’s collaborations, especially with nations like the PRC, should prioritize our national security, human rights, and technological leadership,” Rep. Barr said. “This legislation ensures that Congress has a significant say in any science and technology agreements with the Chinese Communist Party.”

The congressman introduced the Science and Technology Agreement Enhanced Congressional Notification Act of 2023, H.R. 5245, with two GOP original cosponsors to require that the U.S. Secretary of State provide comprehensive details to Congress about any new agreement and then wait for at least 30 days post-submission before proceeding, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Barr’s staff.

Specifically, this provision would encompass thorough risk assessments, human rights considerations, and consistent monitoring mechanisms, the summary says.

“It’s about safeguarding American innovation and assessing risks diligently,” said Rep. Barr. “With this bill, we aim to establish a clear framework for transparent and responsible international collaborations, which will safeguard American interests, values, and global leadership.”

The measure has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.