Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) today announced that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed support for their Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act, which would ensure USDA is fully involved in reviewing our foreign adversaries’ acquisition of American agricultural land and companies in response to Communist China’s threats to America’s food supply.
During a House Agriculture Committee hearing today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to Crawford’s question on the role of a USDA Secretary on the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) by saying, “Being a permanent member would allow us to educate the other members of CFIUS what to look for and what to be sensitive to when it comes to agriculture and agricultural production.”
One of the components of this bill would add the Secretary of Agriculture as a standing member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting our national security.
“I am proud to hear USDA Secretary Vilsack’s support for our bipartisan bill, the PASS Act,” Stefanik said. “As Communist China increases its attempts to threaten our agricultural land and businesses, we must take every precaution to ensure foreign ownership of American farmland does not undermine our national security. My bill with Congressman Crawford, the PASS Act, takes critical steps to ensure we do not concede any ownership of our food supply to those actively working against our security interests.”
“American agriculture is a powerhouse. Our adversaries know this and have resorted to tactics like buying up American farmland and stealing agriculture research,” Crawford said. “I thank Sec. Vilsack for supporting our efforts to bridge the communications gap between USDA and our intelligence agencies, as well as his willingness to provide USDA expertise and information sharing capabilities to other agencies. It’s time to be proactive in addressing these threats to our food supply and to our producers.”
In February, Stefanik and Crawford, alongside Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), introduced the PASS Act, which will protect our national security by preventing foreign adversaries from taking any ownership or control of the United States’ agricultural land and agricultural businesses. Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Senate companion.