January 26, 2024

RELEASE: Auchincloss Joins Bipartisan Group of Select Committee Members in Introducing House and Senate Bills to Ban Foreign Adversary Biotech Companies, Including BGI Group

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D, MA-04) joined Chairman Mike Gallagher (R, WI-08) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D, IL-08) of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party in introducing the BIOSECURE Act, a bill to ensure foreign adversary biotech companies of U.S. national security concern do not gain access to U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Co-leads in the House include Select Committee members Reps. Neal Dunn (R, FL-02) and Seth Moulton (D, MA-06), while Sens. Bill Hagerty (R,TN) and Gary Peters (D, MI) Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Mitt Romney (R,UT), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) have already introduced corresponding legislation in the Senate.

Once enacted, the legislation would restrict federally funded medical providers from using foreign adversary biotech companies of concern, including BGI Group and its subsidiaries, MGI and Complete Genomics, along with another PLA-affiliated firm, called WuXi Apptec.

"Innovation must be guided by values. The Chinese Communist Party and its affiliated biomedical corporations are operating unethically in the collection of genetic information without consent, and U.S. taxpayers should not be helping to fund those or other nefarious practices. American tax dollars should instead be directed towards basic research that unlocks more cures," said Rep. Auchincloss.

“Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) collects genetic data of Americans uses it for research with the Chinese military. The CCP will undoubtedly use the genetic data collected by BGI to further its malign aggression, potentially even to develop a bioweapon used to target the American people,” said Chairman Gallagher. “The good news is that Congress can do something about it. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to support this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that finally takes action to protect Americans from actors like BGI.”

“It is unacceptable for U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used to subsidize biotech companies of our foreign adversaries. By allowing these companies to amass and analyze large amounts of foreign genomic data, we risk our most sensitive information being used by our foreign adversaries against us. Our legislation addresses this problem by establishing a regulatory framework to prevent the flow of taxpayer dollars to biotech entities of concern. Closing this loophole is the first step in protecting the American bioeconomy and our national security, and ensuring our genomic data is kept safe and secure,” said Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi.

“Backed by the PRC’s balance sheet, BGI and other highly-subsidized CCP-directed companies seek to undercut their way into dominating the U.S. biotech market while aggressively collecting the genetic and other sensitive medical data of tens of millions of Americans and transferring it back to China for malign or unknown purposes,” said Senator Hagerty. “We have seen this play before with Huawei and America’s telecoms sector. This bipartisan and bicameral bill will ensure U.S. taxpayer funds do not advance efforts by BGI and other CCP-backed companies to put Americans at long-term risk."

“Every day, Americans get their blood drawn or take other medical tests to protect their health. But, few people know exactly who has access to the DNA information contained in those samples or how they might use it. From DNA test kits to medical diagnostics, as the biotechnology sector becomes more prominent in everyday life, the threats posed by biotech companies controlled by foreign adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party continue to grow,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.?“This bill will protect Americans’ personal health and genetic information from foreign adversaries who have the ability and motivation to use it to undermine our national security.”  

“Chinese-based biotechnology companies are collecting genetic and sensitive health data from millions of people around the world through medical diagnostics tests to give China the upper hand,” Senator Romney said. “We cannot allow the CCP to get their hands on Americans’ private health information. Our bipartisan legislation bans federal contracts and funding mechanisms to companies with ties to the CCP, helping make sure no American taxpayer dollars could be used to subsidize biotech companies that threaten our national security.”

“There is a growing body of evidence that the Chinese Community Party is guilty of threatening our national security and has an unapologetic history of concealing the truth,” Senator Marshall said. “Today’s bipartisan, bicameral legislation protects Americans’ sensitive genetic data from nefarious CCP-aligned actors like BGI and would build on the policies of the PREVENT Pandemics Act, which prohibited funding risky research located in countries of concern and put safeguards around HHS biomedical research involving human genomic information. The CCP should never have access to use Americans’ sensitive genetic information against us.”

“Companies like the Beijing Genomics Institute work closely with the CCP and are complicit in the illegal collection of foreign genetic data. This includes genetic tracking of vulnerable minorities like the Uyghur people,” said Rep. Dunn. “This goes against the principles America was built on. It’s critical that we prevent U.S. tax dollars from going to these companies. We must not fund the inhumane actions of our adversaries.”

“Breakthroughs in biotechnology have the potential to transform our future, but we can’t allow this powerful tool to be co-opted for malign purposes by the Chinese Communist Party. This targeted, bipartisan legislation will ensure that American taxpayers aren’t ultimately enabling the CCP to illicitly collect and misuse genetic information from unsuspecting people around the globe. This is an important step in what should be a comprehensive strategy to counter the misuse of critical and emerging technologies by the CCP,” said Rep. Moulton.

Click HERE to read the full bill text.