By KEVIN DERBY
Francis Rooney and Ted Cruz
Last week, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, brought back their bill “to stop foreign intelligence services from using college exchange programs to steal technology, recruit agents and spread propaganda.”
Back in September, Rooney, who was the vice chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee when the GOP remained in charge of the House, unveiled the “Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft (SHEET) Act” which Cruz was championing in the U.S. Senate.
The bill lets the FBI designate foreign intelligence threats to higher education, ensures colleges and universities follow stricter rules when reporting foreign gifts and allows an appeal process.
Cruz and Rooney brought the bill back on Tuesday, marking the 30th anniversary of the Chinese regime cracking down on protestors in Tiananmen Square.
“Thirty years ago, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers mowed down protestors who had assembled in Tiananmen Square to demand freedom from the tyranny of Communism,” Cruz said. “That tyranny lives on today in forms as open as political violence and as insidious as mass ubiquitous surveillance. Today we remember the bravery of Chinese dissidents all around the world. We must stand with the brave men and women who continue to fight for liberty in China, both to honor the legacy of those who died in the fight and to elevate the cause of those who continue the battle today. As we remember their courage, the U.S. must remain steadfast in protecting our own people. The Communist Party is infiltrating American society to censor free speech and steal sensitive research. Groups like Confucius Institutes, China Student Scholars Association and the Thousand Talents program threaten the integrity of our universities and research. We must counter these efforts, and I am proud to reintroduce the SHEET Act.”
“We must stop foreign intelligence from using college exchange programs to steal technology, recruit agents and spread propaganda,” Rooney said. “Geopolitical adversaries, including China, are infiltrating our universities and stealing intellectual property. Centers like the Confucius Institutes, backed by the Chinese Communist Party, must be held accountable for their malign activities.”
Rooney reeled in five cosponsors including Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz and Dan Webster who had all backed the bill last year as well.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Education and Labor, the Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary Committees.