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Rubio, Vance, Hawley Call on Biden to Block Sale of U.S. Steel

May 10, 2024 | Press Releases

Allowing Japan-based Nippon Steel Company to acquire U.S. Steel raises serious economic and national security concerns. President Joe Biden claims to oppose the sale of this American company but has not taken action within his power to stop the deal.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Josh Hawley (R- MO) sent a letter to President Joe Biden regarding his position on the sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon. 

  • “For weeks you have maintained that ‘it is vital for [U.S. Steel] to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated.’ You have since asserted that it ‘should remain an American company . . . American-owned and American-operated.’ These statements amount to wishes, not declarations, and belie your authority as President of the United States.
  • “By law you possess the authority to ‘suspend or prohibit’ the sale of U.S. Steel unilaterally…”

Flashback… Senator Rubio led Senators Vance and Hawley in sending a letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary and Chair of the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) Janet Yellen urging CFIUS to block the acquisition. 

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear President Biden:

We write to express our frustration with your public statements regarding the sale of U.S. Steel Corporation (“U.S. Steel”) to Nippon Steel Corporation (“Nippon”).

For weeks you have maintained that “it is vital for [U.S. Steel] to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated.” You have since asserted that it “should remain an American company . . . American-owned and American-operated.” These statements amount to wishes, not declarations, and belie your authority as President of the United States.

By law you possess the authority to block the sale of U.S. Steel unilaterally under the Defense Production Act, 50 U.S.C. § 4565(d), or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1702(a), when a national emergency is declared. You may exercise these powers now. Pronouncements about what you consider “vital” or what you think “should” happen to U.S. Steel are worthless unless you act to keep U.S. Steel under American control.

Your predecessor displayed no such reticence. President Trump exercised his powers to suspend or prohibit foreign transactions unilaterally more than any other president. He forced divestitures to safeguard the American semiconductor industry and protect Americans’ data from firms linked to foreign adversaries. He has already declared that he would block the sale of U.S. Steel.

We urge you to summon the courage to do the right thing. Declare whether you will exercise your presidential authority to prohibit or suspend the sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon.

Sincerely,