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WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate today passed a measure led by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that prohibits the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from operating or providing federal funds for drones produced in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba. 

This amendment will now be included in the Appropriations Minibus package to fund Military Construction/Veterans Affairs; Agriculture; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; and agencies related.

“Drones have tremendous potential to transform our society,” said Sen. Warner. “But we have a responsibility to ensure that as the adoption of this technology continues to grow, we are not advancing the goals of our adversaries. I’m thrilled to see this measure pass to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not being used to purchase or import products that go against U.S. interests.”

“Taxpayer dollars should never fund drones manufactured in regions that are hostile toward our nation, including Communist China,” said Sen. Blackburn. “As the world rapidly becomes more technologically advanced, it’s vital that we protect critical U.S. sectors from the increasingly aggressive New Axis of Evil and their partners. My amendment will help curb the importation of drones produced by our adversaries, keeping our nation safer and encouraging manufacturing here at home.” 

Sen. Warner's amendment will withhold funding included in this appropriations package for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that could be used to benefit drone companies:

    1. Located in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, or Cuba;
    1. Owned or subject to the influence or control of any government listed above; or
    1. Included in the Consolidated Screening List, which the United States Government uses to maintain restrictions on certain exports, reexports, or transfers of items.

The amendment also will prohibit the FAA or its contractors from procuring or operating drones produced in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, or Cuba.

In June 2023, Sens. Warner and Blackburn introduced a version of this amendment as standalone legislation, the Stemming The Operation of Pernicious and Illicit (STOP Illicit) Drones Act.