Senate passes amendment restricting land purchases by foreign adversaries

 July 26, 2023

While bipartisanship has become increasingly rare on Capitol Hill in recent years, that didn't stop Democrats and Republicans from agreeing this week to drop the hammer on land sales to China.  

According to the Washington Examiner, the Senate voted 91 to seven on Tuesday in favor of an amendment to a national defense bill.

Amendment limits land purchases by foreign adversaries

Put forward by Montana Democratic Sen. John Tester and South Dakota Republican Sen. Mike Rounds, it limits future purchases of American agricultural land by foreign adversaries.

Under its provisions, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States would be empowered to review agriculture-related foreign investment data published by the Department of Agriculture.

What's more, the committee would also have authority to halt future purchases of farmland by foreign governments that are considered adversaries.

While speaking in support of the amendment, Rounds cited the 2022 case of a Chinese government-linked company buying a large tract of land near a military drone base in his home state.

Jon Tester: "Food security is national security"

"In recent years, our country has seen firsthand attempts by our near-peer competitors to acquire land adjacent to our military bases," Rounds explained, adding, "This demonstrates the need for my amendment."

Tester spoke up in favor of the amendment as well, declaring, "As a third-generation farmer, I know that food security is national security."

"Allowing our foreign adversaries like China to invest in American ag land and agribusinesses threatens American businesses and puts our food security and national security at risk," he insisted.

Joni Ernst: "America is not for sale"

The amendment's passage was also welcomed by Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, with the Examiner noting that she put forward a piece of similar legislation last year.

"America is not for sale. There is no ignoring that China is in our own backyard and buying up land near our critical military installations," the Examiner quoted her as saying in a statement.

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