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ICYMI: Rubio Laments Sale of U.S. Steel

Jan 8, 2024 | Press Releases

U.S. Steel Sale Is Bad News for National Security

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

January 5, 2024

Newsweek

It’s hard to think of a more poignant metaphor for the deindustrialization of America. But the sale of U.S. Steel isn’t just symbolic. It also presents real danger to our long-term economic and national security—danger enough that Senators J. D. Vance (R-Ohio), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and I have requested that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) block the acquisition….

Some of our fellow conservatives scoff at our concerns. They note that Japan is a close ally to the United States. What objection could one possibly have to allowing a friend to control one of our most important steel companies?

Of course it is true that Japan is an ally…. But…[i]t is common sense that there are some things you shouldn’t entrust to others when you can do them yourself. Managing America’s steel factories, which manufacture the fundamental building blocks of modern civilization, is one of those things. It’s no insult to Japan to say so.

Other critics argue that U.S. Steel is of little consequence to our national security. The editors of National Review write, “Even if U.S. Steel totally disappeared, the U.S. would still have production capacity to meet defense needs”…. 

It is strange to see defense hawks argue for the adequacy of the U.S. defense industrial base––and forget that defense needs increase dramatically when a nation switches from peace to a war footing…. If we were to return to a conflict of [World War II’s] magnitude, the Department of Commerce is certain that “existing domestic steel production capacity would be unable to meet national security requirements”….

If we’re going to keep our defense industrial base strong, we need CFIUS to do its job. We also need a broader understanding of national security…. As COVID-19 revealed, depending on foreign companies for everything from medicine to missiles may not seem dangerous in peacetime, but in a time of crisis, it can throw the whole country off balance.

The time has come to take basic sectors like steel as seriously as microchip manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and other buzz-worthy industries. In a time of major conflict, we will need American steel—and lots of it—to remain free.

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