217 House Democrats Torpedo Bill Prohibiting Corporate Cooperation With Chinese Slave Labor

217 House Democrats Torpedo Bill Prohibiting Corporate Cooperation With Chinese Slave Labor

House Democrats voted down a Motion to Recommit (MTR) by Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr Wednesday that would have required businesses to report to the Treasury Department if they discover a supplier or other business partner is using Chinese forced labor.

The final vote came with 207 Republicans in favor of the measure and 217 Democrats opposed.

Under Barr’s proposal, foreign entities would be subject to sanctions if they were found to take advantage of forced labor or assist in the construction of detention camps in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, located in the Xinjiang province of northwest China. Groups that helped undermine democracy in Hong Kong would also be penalized under U.S. sanctions.

“Under this MTR, instead of reporting on malign Chinese companies to the SEC […] we will instead make sure that entities in corporate supply chains are flagged for the Treasury when public companies have reason to believe they’re involved in atrocities in Xinjiang” stated Barr.

The congressman later went on to note that businesses would also be able to “sound the alarm on entities complicit in China’s assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms,” which would allow OFAC at the Treasury to ascertain whether it can impose new sanctions.

Barr’s legislation rejected by Democrats also sought to apply sanctions to businesses involved with the creation or providing of technology or assistance for mass surveillance in Xinjiang.

The proposed MTR was filed on H.R.1187, the ESG Disclosure Simplification Act of 2021, which seeks to mandate an issuer of securities to annually disclose certain environmental, social, and governance metrics and their connection to the long-term business strategy of the issuer to shareholders. The bill would have established a Sustainable Finance Advisory Committee, whose primary responsibility would include recommending to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) policies to facilitate the movement of capital towards environmentally sustainable investments.

The committee would consist of no more than 20 members, with each serving a single four-year term.

Shawn Fleetwood is an intern at The Federalist and a student at the University of Mary Washington, where he plans to major in Political Science and minor in Journalism. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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