Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, along with Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, Jack Reed, and Mark Warner, are calling on President Biden to significantly increase the funding of the export mission of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

In a Feb. 6 letter to the president, the lawmakers mentioned recent comments by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo highlighting the critical role of export controls in addressing national security risks posed by the Chinese government’s technology development and acquisition strategies, as well as the need to build a “more muscular” Commerce Department to address those risks. Despite its important mission, Raimondo noted that “BIS has the same budget today as it had a decade ago with twice as many licensing requests.”

The senators highlighted the need for BIS to continually evaluate the resources and personnel it requires to maintain an effective, efficient, and responsive export control regime that keeps pace with technology developments and those who seek to evade U.S. export controls. In a recent hearing, witnesses called for increased funding for BIS primarily to strengthen the agency’s international engagement efforts, its access to unbiased industry information and trade data, and its analytical capacity to evaluate specific technologies and the effectiveness of export controls.

Accordingly, the lawmakers are calling on the administration to include “robust funding” for BIS in the fiscal year 2025 budget request as an “important step toward building a stronger, more responsive export control system” that enables BIS to fulfill its critical mission.

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