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Senate Bill Seeks to Encourage Domestic Rare Earth Elements Production

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Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., have introduced a bill that would promote domestic production of rare earth elements and reduce dependence on China for such elements.

The proposed Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths Act would direct the departments of Defense and Interior to establish a strategic reserve of such elements by 2025, Cotton’s office said Friday.

In the event of a supply disruption, the reserve should meet the needs of the U.S. military, defense industrial base, critical infrastructure and tech sectors for a year, according to the bill.

The proposed legislation would require DOD contractors to disclose the country of origin of rare earth magnets used in military systems, prohibit use of rare earth metals from China in sensitive defense platforms by 2026 and direct the Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate China’s unfair trade practices in the market and come up with a report for submission to Congress.

“The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries to fighter jets. Ending America’s dependence on the CCP for extraction and processing of these elements is critical to winning the strategic competition against China and protecting our national security,” said Cotton.

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