Drone Industry’s Outrage Over Stefanik’s Anti-China Legislation

A Broken Trust and Political Stunts

Members of the are livid over recent political maneuvers targeting Chinese-made drones, particularly those manufactured by DJI. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik's actions have sparked a fierce backlash, as her recent legislative moves threaten the very survival of the drone industry.


Countering CCP Drones Act

Stefanik introduced H.R. 2864, the “,” which aims to include DJI on the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 list. This move would prevent the FCC from granting new licenses to DJI, effectively banning further imports of DJI products into the U.S. Initially dismissed as far-fetched, this bill now poses a severe threat to a multi-billion dollar industry that routinely saves American lives.

Drones for First Responders Act

On May 15th, Stefanik introduced another damaging bill, H.R. 8416, the “Drones for Act.” This legislation proposes a steep tariff on all drones made in , increasing by 5% annually until it reaches 50% plus $100. It also calls for a complete ban on drones assembled in China by 2030. Introducing such a bill without proper industry consultation shows a blatant disregard for the sector's contributions and survival.

Accusations Against the Drone Advocacy Alliance

In a disgraceful move, Stefanik and Congressman John Moolenaar sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, accusing the Drone Advocacy Alliance (DAA) of promoting DJI's interests and hiding its ties to the Chinese government. This public accusation, accompanied by a press release and social media posts, is nothing more than a political stunt aimed at discrediting the DAA and advancing Stefanik's political career.

Grassroots Organizations Under Fire

The DAA, a grassroots organization supported by small U.S. companies, aims to educate officials about the real-world impacts of such legislation. Stefanik's attack on the DAA is a direct affront to the integrity and importance of grassroots movements. Despite her attempts to undermine the DAA, the alliance has added several new partners since, including DroneXL, recognizing the political maneuvering behind her actions.

Political Motivations and Industry Response

Stefanik's actions appear driven by her broader political aspirations, potentially aiming for a spot on the Republican vice-presidential ticket. Her close ties to anti-China drone players like Skydio and AUVSI, facilitated by former staffer Joe Bartlett, reveal the self-serving nature of her legislative efforts. These bills are not about national security—they are about Stefanik's political gain at the expense of an industry that is crucial for innovation and safety.

DroneXL's Take

The drone industry is rightfully outraged by the political tactics used against it. Stefanik's legislative moves threaten not only businesses but also the critical services drones provide, especially for first responders. Proposing cybersecurity protocols for all drones, regardless of origin, would be a far more sensible solution, balancing security concerns with industry growth. The industry's fight is about more than survival; it's about preserving the innovative edge and lifesaving capabilities that drones bring to the U.S.

Go to the Drone Advocacy Alliance website now to voice your support!

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Proposed legislation threatens your ability to use drones for fun, work, and safety. The Drone Advocacy Alliance is fighting to ensure your voice is heard in these critical policy discussions.Join us and tell your elected officials to protect your right to fly.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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