Scott: America Must Strengthen National Security With Economic Tools

WASHINGTON – In his opening statement at today’s U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on national security, Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) discussed sanctions, export controls, and other economic tools that can strengthen U.S. national security. Senator Scott emphasized that the U.S. must strategically apply these measures in response to Russian aggression and rising economic threats from China.


                                                                                                       Click here to watch the opening remarks.

Ranking Member Scott’s opening remarks as delivered:

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Over this past year, we’ve seen the horrors of war and the brutal loss of life, but we’ve also seen the strength of the Ukrainian people. Their fight against tyranny and oppression to seek and maintain their independence is inspiring and reminds me of our own intrinsic values that inform American patriotism – the hope for a better future.

We are fortunate enough to live in the greatest nation on earth and must always be vigilant to protect and promote national and economic security – the underpinnings of our nation. 

Preserving our status as a world leader requires the continual honing and sharpening of our economic security tools in order to preserve and protect the role of America at home and abroad. These tools are often pushed beyond our everyday conversations. Folks don’t always bring up sanctions at the dinner table, at least not in my house, but they are important to protecting and promoting American interests.

We’ve seen firsthand, whether it’s with Russia or North Korea, that the tailored use of sanctions can be an effective foreign policy and economic security apparatus.

Unfortunately, these same tools have been wielded as hammers instead of scalpels. Resulting in pushing our adversaries toward closer cooperation with each other and further away from us. 

Much like the Obama administration’s famous “red line,” the Biden administration’s failure to enforce existing sanctions manifests weakness—which is an unacceptable abuse of our nation’s global leadership and signals to friend and foe alike that, when we are saying something, we may not actually mean it.

Recent reports of Chinese and Iranian support for Russian weaponry, flouting U.S. sanctions, is just another example.  If there was ever a time to kowtow to our adversaries and their supporters, I assure you: it is not today, nor ever.

National security efforts should support, not detract from, American industrial leadership—a common sense principle. However, instead of using American oil and natural gas resources to aid our European allies and their efforts to cut ties with Russian oil, the Biden administration restricted American energy production to promote liberal climate change policies – punishing not only our allies, but everyday families stuck with higher and higher energy bills.

When looking at tools like export controls and our investment security review process, our goal should be a holistic one that combats malign economic aggression.

Specifically, the Chinese Communist Party has enacted laws facilitating the theft and unfair treatment of American innovation. We must use our export controls to ensure sensitive technologies are not being shared with foreign adversaries—much like we must use the CFIUS process to ensure bad actors are not granted undue access under the guise of benign foreign investment.

Economic security requires precision and strength. We must champion American economic opportunity. Hard work and ingenuity are two of the main drivers of the American dream, the same dream that our adversaries are working to stop. 

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on this important topic. Thank you.