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Updated December 20th, 2023 at 14:18 IST

US politicians from both parties express outrage after Japanese company buys US Steel

The bipartisan outcry against the sale underscores the widespread concern among lawmakers about the potential implications.

Sagar Kar
A US Steel plant
A US Steel plant in Pennsylvania. | Image:AP
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Washington DC: Senators from across party lines have rallied in vehement opposition against the sale of U.S. Steel to the Japanese Nippon Steel Corporation, expressing grave concerns over the impact this acquisition may have on national security and the American steel industry. The announcement of this major deal has sparked bipartisan outrage and vows to block the foreign acquisition.

The sale, which marks a significant chapter in the history of American industry, was announced following the purchase of U.S. Steel by the Japanese Nippon Steel Corporation for $55 per share. David Burritt, CEO of U.S. Steel, hailed the merger as a move beneficial for both companies, emphasizing a shared commitment to safety and innovation that would serve their customers’ evolving needs. However, the deal has drawn sharp criticism from both Republican and Democratic senators, who are deeply concerned about the potential ramifications of a foreign company taking control of a cornerstone of the American steel industry.

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Democratic Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, standing near the Edgar Thompson plant, expressed strong opposition to the sale, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the steelworkers’ union and the national security implications of such a transaction. He vowed to utilize his platform and influence to prevent the sale from going through, reflecting the sentiments echoed by Senator Bob Casey, also from Pennsylvania, who underscored the importance of keeping the iconic American steel company under domestic ownership.

“It’s absolutely outrageous that U.S. Steel has agreed to sell themselves to a foreign company. Steel is always about security — both our national security and the economic security of our steel communities. I am committed to doing anything I can do, using my platform and my position, to block this foreign sale," Senator Fetterman said, as per a report from the Pittsburg Post Gazette. 

Joining the chorus of opposition, Republican Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio highlighted the critical role of U.S. Steel in the nation’s defense industrial base and called for measures to prevent the acquisition by a foreign entity. Vance urged President Biden to intervene, citing the president's authority to block foreign acquisitions that pose threats to national security.

Today, a critical piece of America's defense industrial base was auctioned off to foreigners for cash. I warned of this outcome months ago and will oppose it in the months ahead. U.S. Steel announced the sale by celebrating the 'certain and immediate value' to be delivered to its shareholders. But rest assured that I will interrogate the long-term implications for the American people, and I will do everything in my power to protect the future of our nation's security, industry, and workers. Under American law, the president has the ability to suspend or prohibit foreign purchases of American companies that threaten national security. If the sale goes through, it's because Biden allows it,” Senator JD Vance said, as per a report from DC Enquirer. 

The bipartisan outcry against the sale underscores the widespread concern among lawmakers about the potential implications for the nation’s steel industry and strategic interests. As senators mobilize to contest the sale, the fate of U.S. Steel and its significance to the American economy remains at the center of a contentious debate that transcends party lines.

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Published December 20th, 2023 at 14:18 IST

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