Press Releases

Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged the Senate to pass his Genomics Data Security Act following a new Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report. The OIG report, requested by Rubio and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in June 2019, found that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not consider national security risks for any CMS programs. This is particularly concerning with regard to tests that CMS oversees and are known threats to Americans’ genomic data from testing companies affiliated with the Chinese government, like BGI. Additionally, the report determined that CMS needs to account for these national security considerations.  
 
While the OIG report called for CMS to consider national security risks, it did not outline a path by which to do so. Rubio’s Genomics Data Security Act, which he introduced in May 2021, would address this issue by requiring CMS to list if the company conducting the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) test has ties to the People’s Republic of China. This requirement would force CMS to develop a process to obtain information on national security threats related to a company’s organizational structure. 
 
Rubio has been a leading voice in addressing the growing threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to collect American’s genomic data. In December 2019, Rubio secured a provision in the end-of-year appropriations bills requiring CMS to disclose the Russian and Chinese labs that may be receiving federal payments to process Americans’ genomic data. But the OIG report further emphasizes the need for Congress to confront this national security and privacy threat.
 
“It is ridiculous that our current policies enable the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ genomic data,” Rubio said. “There is absolutely no reason that Beijing, which routinely seeks to undermine U.S. national security, should be handed the genomic data of American citizens. We must take action to address these vulnerabilities, and that starts by passing my Genomics Data Security Act.”
 
Background:
 
Senators Rubio and Grassley have worked together to combat the growing national security threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party’s ties to American genomics companies. 
 
January 28, 2021: Rubio, Grassley Call for Investigation Into HHS National Security Practices Throughout Pandemic
October 30, 2019: Rubio, Grassley Seek Answers on HHS Funded Genetic Testing Connected to China, Russia 
June 10, 2019: Rubio, Grassley Call on HHS IG to Examine Payments to Chinese-Linked Companies