Rep Newhouse Focused On Blocking China From Purchasing U.S. Lands
There's a move in Congress to block the purchase of U.S. lands by China.
China only accounted for one percent of the 40 million acres of U.S. Forest and farmland owned by foreign investors as of 2021.
Still, Washington 4th District Congressman Dan Newhouse says there's reason for concern.
"We're seeing an increase in the number of acres that are being purchased by the CCP (Communist Party of China) in the United States," said Newhouse. "Some of that is production and agricultural land. Some of that is land that is near sensitive infrastructure."
Newhouse successfully got language in the annual farm bill to block China's purchase of agricultural land, although the bill itself is waiting for approval.
The House adjourned for the month of August after Republican leadership in the Rules Committee was unable to get necessary votes for the Ag spending package.
Red flags were raised last year when a Chinese-owned corn processing company purchased 300 acres near an Air Force base in North Dakota.
There was also concern earlier this year when a Chinese surveillance balloon hovered over Montana, which is home to numerous nuclear missiles.
For its part, the U.S. Senate has approved a bipartisan amendment to the annual defense bill that would prohibit China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from purchasing U.S. farmland.
The amendment, which passed by a 91-7 vote would empower the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to evaluate land deals and direct the president to halt land transactions by the four nations.
The defense bill is awaiting approval after the Senate returns from its August break.
Newhouse thinks lawmakers will ultimately agree on a package to restrict China’s purchase of sensitive U.S. lands.
"We need to do it, and there's a lot of interest in getting it done," Newhouse said. "It's just a matter of bringing all these ideas together and making sure the agencies have the clarity and the authority to accomplish it."