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Bush OKs Dubai Parts Plants Deal

President Bush speaks about comprehensive immigration reform in Irvine, Calif Monday, April 24, 2006. As Congress headed back Monday from a two-week recess, President Bush was in the country's most immigrant-rich state to push a stalled bill that would allow more foreigners to work legally in the United States.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
President Bush on Friday approved a deal for a Dubai-owned company to take control of some U.S. plants that manufacture parts for American military contractors.

Initial reactions from Congress indicated that there would not be the opposition to the deal that prevented another Dubai-based company from taking over operations of several U.S. ports.

"This was a transaction that was thoroughly reviewed and closely scrutinized," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in confirming the deal. "In the view of the committee, it does not compromise our national security."

As a condition of the president's approval, the company signed an agreement that promised an uninterrupted supply, McClellan said. The White House was in the process of informing key members of Congress of the president's decision.

House leadership aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said lawmakers from both parties on the relevant committees had been briefed on the deal, and had agreed that necessary safeguards were in effect. They said there had been numerous contacts with the administration.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a leading opponent of the port deal, also said he did not plan to oppose the transaction. "There are two differences between this deal and the Dubai Ports deal," he said in a statement.

"First, this went through the process in a careful, thoughtful way; and second this is a product not a service and the opportunity to infiltrate and sabotage is both more difficult and more detectable," Schumer said.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which must review foreign transactions of this kind, began its review of the transaction on Jan. 28 and made its recommendation to Bush on April 13. He had 15 days to make a decision, a timeframe that expired Friday.

The decision follows a political uproar earlier this year after Bush backed a deal allowing another Dubai-owned company to operate several major U.S. port terminals. The company, DP World, announced it would sell the U.S. operations it acquired in its purchase of a British firm to an American firm after Republicans and Democrats in Congress balked, saying the transaction could compromise America's security interests.