Lucas Legislation Addressing Foreign Land Acquisition Passes Through Committee

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the House Financial Services Committee passed the Agricultural Risk Review Act, his legislation to add the Secretary of Agriculture as a permanent member on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
“Protecting America’s agriculture security is a critical part of our national security. With an increasing amount of foreign investment in U.S. agriculture, including the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of CFIUS is long overdue.” said Congressman Frank Lucas.  “I know firsthand just how important the security of our agricultural industry is, which is why I applaud my colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee in taking a critical step to make my longstanding priority law.” 

“The Agricultural Security Risk Review Act is an important reform that the gentleman from Oklahoma has long championed… While CFIUS is indeed a committee, it benefits from the expertise of particular Member Agencies with relevant expertise. Agriculture is too important to go neglected. Mr. Lucas has long understood this, and I applaud his hard work in championing the Agriculture Secretary’s contributions to CFIUS.”
-Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, Chairman, House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions

“There is a small but growing share of agricultural land that is owned by foreign interests. Persons involved in those purchases as well as transactions affecting the food supply chain could very well pose a threat to the U.S… It is vital that CFIUS is equipped with relevant expertise to review transactions involving agricultural land or food-related businesses. H.R. 3378 is a commonsense bill that would formally add the Secretary of Agriculture to CFIUS, where food and agriculture are concerned.”
-Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, House Financial Services Committee

Background:

CFIUS is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, and Members of the Committee include the heads of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, State, Energy, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Office of Science & Technology Policy.

The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Labor serve as non-voting members.
While the Secretary of Treasury can designate the Secretary of Agriculture as a lead agency for transactions on a case-by-case basis, the Ag Secretary is not a permanent Member.

During a House Agriculture Committee hearing earlier this year, USDA Secretary Vilsack discussed the implications of a permanent placement of the USDA Secretary on CFIUS, 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.”

The Agricultural Risk Review Act would add the Secretary of Agriculture as a permanent member to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) for any transactions related to the purchase of agriculture land, agricultural biotechnology, or any other transaction related to the U.S. agriculture industry, as determined by the USDA Secretary.

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