Congressional scrutiny of the U.S. relationship with China marched forward this week as Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced a new and expanded version of the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act (NCCDA)—legislation to create a national security review process for “outbound” transactions by U.S. companies investing overseas.

The bill adds both breadth and specificity to legislation introduced last June.  While our colleagues have detailed the major provisions of the previous version, the new NCCDA differs in several important respects.

First, the bill expands the list of U.S. industries deemed “critical sectors” subject to the notification and review process to include “active pharmaceutical ingredients” and “automobile manufacturing,” and gives the executive branch authority to expand the list further.  The new bill, however, does not add any additional definitions for these terms, nor does it further define the critical sectors that appeared in the 2022 version, including semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging, large capacity batteries, critical minerals and materials, artificial intelligence, and quantum information science and technology.

Second, the bill creates a judicial review procedure for actions taken by the executive branch under the NCCDA, allowing aggrieved parties to bring suit directly in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Finally, the legislation would increase the President’s role over outbound investment reviews by making the White House itself the lead on the new outbound investment review committee—the Committee for National Critical Capabilities.  Previous versions had placed the U.S. Trade Representative in the lead role.

Last year’s NCCDA drew broad stakeholder opposition and did not progress.  The fate of this year’s version is uncertain, but it is clear that the bill is part of a larger story on how the Congress and the Administration are grappling with economic and national security concerns related to China.  We expect a plethora of additional related bills and administration actions, including the anticipated Biden Administration executive order on outbound investment reviews and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) announcement that comprehensive, bipartisan legislation addressing the U.S. relationship with China is forthcoming this year. 

Photo of Matthew Shapanka Matthew Shapanka

Matthew Shapanka draws on more than 15 years of experience from Capitol Hill, private practice, state government, and political campaigns to counsel clients significant legislative, regulatory, and enforcement matters. He develops and executes complex, multifaceted public policy initiatives for clients seeking actions by…

Matthew Shapanka draws on more than 15 years of experience from Capitol Hill, private practice, state government, and political campaigns to counsel clients significant legislative, regulatory, and enforcement matters. He develops and executes complex, multifaceted public policy initiatives for clients seeking actions by Congress, state legislatures, and federal and state government agencies, many with significant legal and political opportunities and risks. Matt also leads the firm’s state policy practice, advising clients on complex multistate legislative and regulatory policy matters and managing state advocacy efforts.

Matt rejoined Covington after serving as Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, where he advised Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on all legal, policy, and oversight matters before the Committee, including federal election and campaign finance law, Federal Election Commission nominations, and oversight of legislative branch agencies, U.S. Capitol security, and Senate rules and regulations. Most significantly, Matt led the Committee’s staff work on the Electoral Count Reform Act – a landmark bipartisan law enacted in 2022 to update the procedures for certifying and counting votes in presidential elections —and the Committee’s joint (with the Homeland Security Committee) bipartisan investigation into the security planning and response to the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Both in Congress and at Covington, Matt has prepared dozens of corporate and nonprofit executives, academics, government officials, and presidential nominees for testimony at congressional committee hearings and depositions. He is also an experienced legislative drafter who has composed dozens of bills introduced in Congress and state legislatures, including several that have been enacted into law across multiple policy areas.

In addition to his policy work, Matt advises and represents clients on the full range of political law compliance and enforcement matters involving federal election, campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “Pay-to-Play” rule, and the election and political laws of states and municipalities across the country.

Before law school, Matt worked in the administration of former Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) as a research analyst in the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office, where he worked on policy, communications, and compliance matters for federal economic recovery funding awarded to the state. He has also worked for federal, state, and local political candidates in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Photo of Holly Fechner Holly Fechner

Holly Fechner advises clients on complex public policy matters that combine legal and political opportunities and risks. She leads teams that represent companies, entities, and organizations in significant policy and regulatory matters before Congress and the Executive Branch.

She is a co-chair of…

Holly Fechner advises clients on complex public policy matters that combine legal and political opportunities and risks. She leads teams that represent companies, entities, and organizations in significant policy and regulatory matters before Congress and the Executive Branch.

She is a co-chair of the Covington’s Technology Industry Group and a member of the Covington Political Action Committee board of directors.

Holly works with clients to:

  • Develop compelling public policy strategies
  • Research law and draft legislation and policy
  • Draft testimony, comments, fact sheets, letters and other documents
  • Advocate before Congress and the Executive Branch
  • Form and manage coalitions
  • Develop communications strategies

She is the Executive Director of Invent Together and a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She serves on the board of directors of the American Constitution Society.

Holly served as Policy Director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Chief Labor and Pensions Counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.

She received The American Lawyer, “Dealmaker of the Year” award. in 2019. The Hill named her a “Top Lobbyist” from 2013 to the present, and she has been ranked by Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers from 2012 to the present.