WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and members of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) introduced legislation to prevent foreign adversaries from exploiting U.S. land near national security sites by giving the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) jurisdiction over any potential land purchases by foreign adversaries.
“Safeguarding our food supply chains and national security from foreign adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party will always be a top priority of mine,” said Rep. Newhouse. “We must ensure our government agencies have the necessary resources to stop bad actors from gaining a foothold in our homeland. I am proud to introduce this legislation as a continuation of my efforts to stop the CCP and all foreign adversaries from putting our food supply and national security at risk.”
"The United States cannot allow foreign adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies to acquire real estate near sensitive sites like military bases or telecom infrastructure, potentially exploiting our critical technology and endangering our servicemembers. This bill gives CFIUS jurisdiction over foreign adversary real estate transactions to guard against the threat of the CCP and other adversaries purchasing land for malign purposes, and it also encourages CFIUS to consider food security issues as it evaluates the national security risk of a given transaction," said Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI).
Newhouse said if countries like the CCP, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, had a major part in our food supply chain it would make the U.S. vulnerable and could be compromised if an international incident happened, they could keep food from being produced or sourced to the American public.
"Just like any other aspect of our national defense, food security is a huge part of that," Newhouse explained. "We want to make sure our country has control. Our country has to eat, our armed forces have to eat so food security is definitely equivalent to national security. We don't want to wake up years from now wishing we had stronger actions to prevent these adversaries having a stake in our food supply chain."
Read the full text of the bill here
The bill would:
- Give CFIUS jurisdiction over all land purchases (with exceptions for real estate in urban areas and single housing units) by foreign adversary entities.
- Authorize CFIUS to consider U.S. food security, including via biotechnology acquisition, as a factor in its national security reviews and require the Secretary of Agriculture have a vote in CFIUS reviews of transactions that involve farmland or agriculture technology.
- Establish a negative presumption (“presumption of non-resolvability”) for CFIUS reviews that raises the approval threshold for CFIUS transactions by a foreign adversary entity purchasing land near sensitive sites (e.g., major military sites, acknowledged intelligence facilities, etc.)
- Mandate CFIUS filing for foreign adversary entities making land purchases near sensitive sites. This will ensure CFIUS remains apprised of ongoing real estate purchases by foreign adversary entities.
- Expand the list of sensitive national security sites designated for CFIUS jurisdiction.
"The CFIUS seems to have the jurisdiction that makes the most sense," Newhouse said. "So we're looking at ways we can give them more authority, tools, in order to tackle the issue of stopping purchases of agricultural assets by foreign adversaries. This would be a new area of responsibility for them. It also increase the ability for the Secretary of Agriculture to have a voice in monitoring these transactions. It is part of an ongoing effort to take control of the situation."
Rep. Newhouse has been a leader in protecting American farmland from the Chinese Communist Party and foreign adversaries:
In January, Rep. Newhouse co-sponsored the Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security Act of 2023
(PASS Act), which protects our national security by preventing foreign adversaries from taking any ownership or control of the United States’ agricultural land and agricultural businesses. More specifically, the PASS Act prohibits China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from purchasing U.S. agricultural land and agricultural companies.
Earlier this year, Rep. Newhouse sent a letter
to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack demanding action from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding their failure to conduct oversight of foreign acquisition of U.S. agricultural land.
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