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Waltz Bill Bans U.S. Soldiers, Federal Employees from Inadvertently Funding Chinese Military

Washington, April 24, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – If a group of Obama-appointed federal retirement board members have their way, members of the United States military and federal employees will inadvertently fund China’s People’s Liberation Army through their federal retirement plans – but a bill introduced Friday by U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) would put a stop to the practice and ensure the retirement money is invested responsibly – and doesn’t fall in the hands of China’s military.

“It is absolutely crazy for our military and federal employees to be indirectly contributing to China’s military operations – and what’s worse is that nearly all of these people are completely unaware of this situation,” Waltz said.

Waltz’s bill would ban the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) – all five of whom were appointed by President Barack Obama – from steering military and federal employees’ retirement contributions to China.

Every month, a combined 5.6 million U.S. military members and federal employees contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a 401K-style plan taken out of their paychecks. The TSP, which is administered by the FRTIB, is responsible for over $700 billion in assets, making it one of the world’s largest retirement funds.

The specific portion of the retirement plan in question is the I Fund, one of the most important funds with $50 billion in assets. This fund is invested worldwide to manage risk and benefit from overseas growth.

Currently, the I Fund doesn’t include developing economies but last year, the FRTIB board approved a change to this fund – scheduled to go into effect later this year – to adopt the All Countries Index, which includes adversaries like China and Russia. The rule change forces the FRTIB to invest more than $3 billion of military and federal employees’ retirement funds in state-owned firms directed in China.

The bill was originally sponsored by former U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who now serves as President Trump’s Chief of Staff.

“Imagine sending our brave soldiers overseas to fight against our enemies and then telling them they have been footing the bill for a country like China’s military operations,” Waltz said. “This is completely unconscionable and needs to stop.”

The bill has 19 original cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

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