Republican Legislation to Protect U.S. Agriculture Land from Chinese Buyers Advances Towards Full Floor Vote

Republican Legislation to Protect U.S. Agriculture Land from Chinese Buyers Advances Towards Full Floor Vote_

Republican Bill to Safeguard U.S. Farmland from Chinese Buyers Progresses

In a significant development, recent Republican legislation intended to safeguard U.S. farmland from Chinese buyers has made notable progress, moving closer to a full floor vote. The Agricultural Security Risk Review Act, led by Rep. Frank Lucas, has garnered unanimous support from the House Financial Services Committee, paving the way for further consideration.

Unanimous Backing from Committee

The bill, introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas, received strong approval during a markup by the House Financial Services Committee with a unanimous 42-0 vote last week. The committee’s chair, Patrick McHenry, and ranking member, Maxine Waters, expressed their full support for the legislation. This unanimous committee endorsement is a crucial step as the bill moves forward towards a full floor vote.

Empowering the Department of Agriculture

Under Rep. Lucas’ innovative legislation, the Secretary of Agriculture would become a full member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS, an essential interagency group overseen by the Department of the Treasury, evaluates foreign investments with potential national security implications. The bill aims to grant CFIUS the authority to block agricultural transactions that could jeopardize national security interests.

Addressing Growing Concerns

Recent land acquisitions by foreign investors, especially those from China, have raised alarms among Republican lawmakers and community leaders nationwide. There is increasing worry that foreign entities are gaining significant control over key parts of U.S. food and energy resources. Data from the Department of Agriculture indicates a tenfold increase in Chinese agricultural investments between 2009 and 2016, underscoring the need for legislative action.

Broad Bipartisan Support

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has backed Rep. Lucas’ groundbreaking legislation, emphasizing that having a permanent seat on the CFIUS would enable the Department of Agriculture to provide expertise on agriculture and production. This bipartisan effort aims to ensure that CFIUS considers the unique characteristics of agriculture in its evaluations of proposed deals.

Highlighting National Security Risks

Recent incidents have highlighted the potential national security risks associated with foreign land purchases. For example, concerns over a Chinese company’s proposed corn mill near a U.S. Air Force base in Grand Forks, North Dakota, led to its rejection. Similarly, the acquisition of land in Michigan by a Chinese green energy subsidiary, Gotion High-Tech, near military facilities raised concerns.

Support from Key Associations

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has endorsed Rep. Lucas’ crucial legislation, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding agriculture for national security. By involving the Secretary of Agriculture in CFIUS, the bill ensures that American farmers have a direct say in the review process, recognizing agriculture’s vital role in protecting national security.

As this legislation advances, it demonstrates policymakers’ commitment to preserving America’s agricultural legacy and its critical contribution to national security. Stay updated for further developments as this important bill progresses through the legislative process.

About the Author

Mark Hussey
Mark Hussey is a prolific author and distinguished scholar of modernism, with extensive experience in literary analysis and research.