Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to block Nippon Steel from acquiring U.S. Steel.

President Biden has repeatedly and publicly expressed his support for preventing a foreign takeover of one of America's flagship companies. Nonetheless, Biden has refused to use his authority as president to block the deal.

“By law you possess the authority to block the sale of U.S. Steel unilaterally under the Defense Production Act, 50 U.S.C. § 4565(d), or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1702(a), when a national emergency is declared. You may exercise these powers now,” the Senators wrote.

They continued, “Pronouncements about what you consider 'vital’ or what you think ‘should’ happen to U.S. Steel are worthless unless you act to keep U.S. Steel under American control.”

Senator Hawley has been a leader on this issue. In December of last year, he sent a letter with Senators Vance and Rubio to Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and Chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), urging her to block the sale of U.S. Steel to the Japanese steel company.

Read the full letter here or below:

May 9, 2024 

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. 

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500 

Dear President Biden: 

We write to express our frustration with your public statements regarding the sale of U.S. Steel Corporation (“U.S. Steel”) to Nippon Steel Corporation (“Nippon”).

For weeks you have maintained that “it is vital for [U.S. Steel] to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated." You have since asserted that it “should remain an American company . . . American-owned and American-operated.” These statements amount to wishes, not declarations, and belie your authority as President of the United States.

By law you possess the authority to block the sale of U.S. Steel unilaterally under the Defense Production Act, 50 U.S.C. § 4565(d), or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1702(a), when a national emergency is declared. You may exercise these powers now. Pronouncements about what you consider “vital” or what you think “should” happen to U.S. Steel are worthless unless you act to keep U.S. Steel under American control. 

Your predecessor displayed no such reticence. President Trump exercised his powers to suspend or prohibit foreign transactions unilaterally more than any other president. He forced divestitures to safeguard the American semiconductor industry and protect Americans’ data from firms linked to foreign adversaries. He has already declared that he would block the sale of U.S. Steel.

We urge you to summon the courage to do the right thing. Declare whether you will exercise your presidential authority to prohibit or suspend the sale of U.S. Steel to Nippon. 

Sincerely,

Josh Hawley
United States Senator

J.D. Vance
United States Senator

Marco Rubio
United States Senator