Rounds, Scott Introduce Bill to Strengthen CFIUS Review Process, Protect American Land
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, joined Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to introduce the Protect Our Bases Act. This legislation would make certain the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) can review foreign land purchases near sensitive military, intelligence and national laboratory sites by requiring member agencies to annually update and review their lists of these sites.
“Protecting American land is critical to maintaining our national security,” said Rounds. “Our near-peer adversaries, like China, only wish to gain advantage and opportunities to surveil our nation’s capabilities and resources. I am pleased to join Ranking Member Scott on this legislation to make our homeland more secure.”
“The Chinese Communist Party can’t be allowed to compromise the security of military and government facilities on our home turf,” said Scott. “By enhancing the review of foreign real estate transactions near sites that are vital to U.S. national security, this legislation will increase accountability to help ensure the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States can take proper action to push back on Communist China and keep our nation safe.”
In addition to Rounds and Scott, this legislation was introduced by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Katie Britt (R-Ala.)
In 2022, Fufeng Group, a Chinese company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, announced it would purchase land near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. CFIUS determined that it could not evaluate the transaction for national security risks because the Department of Defense had not listed the base as a sensitive site for national security purposes. Although the City of Grand Forks ultimately blocked the transaction, the incident demonstrated a significant flaw in the review process of foreign land purchases. CFIUS relies on its member agencies to provide updated information on sensitive military, intelligence and national laboratory sites in order to properly assess the security risk of foreign investment in our country. If CFIUS member agencies do not appropriately update their site lists, CFIUS cannot guarantee an accurate review.
The senators’ bill requires agencies represented on CFIUS to provide updated records of the military, intelligence and national laboratory facilities that should be sensitive sites for national security purposes to CFIUS on an annual basis. Additionally, the legislation requires CFIUS to submit an annual report to Congress certifying the completion of such reviews and the accuracy of its real estate listings.
The Protect Our Bases Act builds on Rounds’ existing legislative work to safeguard America from malign foreign investments that pose national security concerns. Earlier this year, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (FY24 NDAA) by a vote of 86-11 The FY24 NDAA included an amendment offered by Rounds that bans foreign adversaries from purchasing American farmland and agricultural businesses. Additionally, it would add the Secretary of Agriculture as an ex officio member of CFIUS to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting our national security and require the president to submit a report to Congress on any waiver granted to a prohibited country.
Click HERE for full bill text.