Senate rejects effort to boost Congress's national security oversight
© Greg Nash

The Senate on Thursday blocked an effort by GOP Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyDunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show MORE (Penn.) to strengthen congressional oversight of deals between U.S. and foreign firms that could impact national security. 

Senators voted 35-62 on advancing the amendment from Toomey. Sixty votes were needed to move the GOP senator's proposal forward, where he was hoping to attach it to a mammoth defense policy bill currently being debated. 
 
The amendment from Toomey would have given Congress a vote on major decisions by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. The interagency board reviews the national security implications of foreign firms trying to take control of a U.S. business. 
 
"This amendment .... is a simple question of whether we think that we ought to be accountable, that we ought to take responsibility for the legislative authority that we delegate," Toomey said ahead of the vote.  
 
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Toomey added that "a no vote is really a vote to shirk our own responsibility, our constitutional responsibility." 

But Toomey's amendment drew fire from both sides as well as the Trump administration. 

In talking points that were circulated to Senate offices, and obtained by The Washington Post, the administration argues Toomey's legislation "could potentially result in CFIUS being unable to establish regulations, thereby undermining national security.”
 
 
"CFIUS is process used to potentially block attempts by foreign companies to do deals which pose a threat to our national security. Giving big corporations the chance to get congress to overturn these decisions so they can make their big $ is terrible idea," GOP Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire McConnell: Wearing a mask is 'single most significant thing' to fight pandemic McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill MORE (Fla.) added in a tweet.
 
Toomey's amendment split Republicans. Thirty five, including Toomey, voted to advance the proposal while 14 voted with every Democrat to oppose the measure.