Sullivan Discusses Infrastructure Bill, Holding U.S.-Listed Chinese Companies Accountable on Fox Business

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) joined Charles Payne on Fox Business Network yesterday to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill being debated in the Senate, and the senator’s call for serious reform of the federal permitting system to make sure any significant investment is not squandered by delays. 

The two also discussed Sullivan and Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) letter to Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Gary Gensler on behalf of American investors urging the SEC to enforce transparency requirements for Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. Sen. Sullivan’s request came as the result of the recent initial public offering (IPO) by the Chinese ride-hailing company Didi, and subsequent enforcement actions by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that are still reverberating throughout the broader stock market. On Friday, Chairman Gensler stated publicly that the SEC would increase scrutiny of Chinese companies seeking to be listed on U.S. exchanges.


PayneJoining me now, Republican Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska. All right, senator. We're at 2,700 pages coming out of Congress. We always know when something is that big, it is going to be chock full of nonsense. Certainly this is no different. Meanwhile, we're told things like the border wall is not infrastructure. How much trimming do you think will happen with some of the nonsense before this is approved?

SullivanWe just voted on an amendment to actually fund the border wall, from Senator Johnson, and I certainly was a strong supporter of that. What I’m doing right now is actually reading the bill. I've been a “no” on the votes leading up to this, and the main reason is because we actually didn't have the text. You mentioned [it is] 2,700 pages. My team and I are reading it. It takes a long darn time. Some of the issues I'm looking at, certainly for Alaska—we're a resource-rich but infrastructure-poor state. Infrastructure is important, but something else I'm looking for: A lot of the far left Democrats in the Senate, the Green New Deal Democrats, they always try to slip in things that actually try to shut down Alaska. That's a big issue that I have to keep a close eye on. They want to turn my state into a national park with no economy. I'm looking at all aspects of this. Right now, I'm doing what my constituents want me to do—actually reading the bill with my staff and it's taking some time, no doubt about it.

PayneYeah, I can imagine your staff must have one of those boxes of highlighters you get at Costco, like a box of 88 of them. And, hopefully, you won't need to get two boxes. And, by the way, writer's cramp. Good luck. Here's the thing, a lot of people remember that famous scene—you remember—President Obama and the then-jobs czar Jeff Immelt. They were sitting together and they were chuckling over the term “shovel ready.” Take a listen:

Video Clip: “’Shovel ready’ was not as shovel ready as we expected.”

PayneThere's often hurdles. There’s regulations. There’s permitting. We could pass trillions of dollars in infrastructure, but if it can't be used right away, doesn't it usually get squandered? 

SullivanI couldn't agree with you more. One of the big things that we've been looking at, and one of things I've been pushing through this whole process, is serious permitting reform. You mentioned it. You could do a $10 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, but if you don't fix the broken federal permitting system that we have in our country, you're not going to be able to deploy any of that capital. You've heard the horror stories. Nine years to permit a bridge. We had a gold mine in Alaska that took almost 20 years to permit. This is a really big issue that I'm looking at. We were trying to get in a lot of serious permitting reform. The Trump administration did a great job on this. We worked with them. One federal decision. Timeline on permits. You don't want to cut corners, we just want to do common-sense permitting. That can actually help bring a lot of capital in the private sector off the sidelines into infrastructure as well. It's a huge part of what I'm looking at right now, and it's really important.

PayneWe know that that's an area for a lot of bureaucracy, as well. I've got a minute, but I have to talk to you about this. You were on TV talking about the SEC enforcing rules, making investing in Chinese stocks more transparent. SEC Chief Gary Gensler then tweeted at you saying: “Investor protection is at the heart of our work. I'm happy to collaborate with Senator Dan Sullivan and his colleagues to ensure working families have the investor protection they deserve.” What do you want to see from the SEC? 

SullivanA couple of things. So many Americans don't know what they're actually investing in when they invest in listed Chinese companies on American exchanges. First, I had a discussion with the SEC chairman about this over the weekend. He needs to do more to highlight the risk. I don't think most Americans know, and pension funds certainly don't know, when they're investing in Chinese companies listed on American exchanges, it's not an equity interest in the company. It's actually an offshore shell company that is subject to the whims of the Chinese Communist Party. We saw that in the Didi IPO. That's important, but more important than that is fully enforcing this law we passed last December. President Trump signed it. It was very bipartisan. It was called the “Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.” It was very simple. It said unless these companies undertake audits the way American companies that are listed on American exchanges do, they're refusing to do that right now, then they should be delisted. The SEC needs to fully enforce that. I'll mention one final issue, Charles. It really gets to me. It's discouraging to see some of our Wall Street executives work so hard to try to get capital for Chinese companies with ties to the PLA and ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Yet, at the same time, they're also saying that they don't want to invest in American energy, American workers, or in the Arctic in Alaska. It's really discouraging to see that hypocrisy. I think it hurts the country and I think a lot of members of Congress are getting upset with it. 

PayneI think their wokeness stops at the border's edge. Senator Sullivan, thank you very much. Always appreciate it. Good stuff. 

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