GOP Bill To Keep US Agriculture Safe from China Advances

( – The Agricultural Security Risk Review Act passed the House with unanimous support last week. The legislation introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas passed with bipartisan support in a 42-0 vote. Lucas expressed his delight that the bill will now be advancing to a full floor vote.

This legislation will ensure the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) will be supported in rejecting agricultural transactions that could potentially threaten national security. Lucas believes this can be accomplished by the secretary of the Department of Agriculture becoming a full-time member of the CFIUS. Since the 1970s, the CFIUS has been tasked with reviewing foreign investments that could pose a threat to national security.

Republicans are concerned about the recent increase in farmland being purchased by foreign countries, mainly China. According to Lucas, the Chinese national government has been making purchases globally that could give China the ability to control the resources of other countries. He is concerned that China could be trying to establish a dominant position in the U.S. energy and food supply.

A Chinese company that owns 300 acres in Grand Forks, North Dakota, near a U.S. Air Force base proposed building a corn mill on the property. The City Council rejected building permits after Air Force Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter declared the project would pose a “significant threat” to national security. CFIUS was not equipped to handle the case.

In Green Charter Township, Michigan, another Chinese-owned company wants to build a battery factory on 270 acres they recently purchased. The property is less than 100 miles from military armories and the largest U.S. National Guard Training Facility in the country. Again, the CFIUS declared it does not have jurisdiction over the transaction.

The Agricultural Security Risk Review Act would ensure the CFIUS has the needed expertise and authority to handle matters of this nature where national security could be jeopardized.

Maxine Waters called the bill, HR-3378, a “common sense” bill.

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