November 02, 2023

Gallego Backs Legislation to Protect Arizona Farmland and National Security Sites

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), announced his support for the Protecting U.S. Farmland and Sensitive Sites from Foreign Adversaries Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen and expand protections around national security sites, critical infrastructure, and farmland.

“Protecting Arizona's food and water supplies is a national security issue, even more so when farmland is near military bases,” said Rep. Gallego. “I’m proud to support this legislation that will protect Arizona’s agriculture security by preventing foreign adversaries, such as China, from buying up land near sensitive national security sites, such as Luke Air Force Base.”

The Protecting U.S. Farmland and Sensitive Sites from Foreign Adversaries Act would give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) jurisdiction over all land purchases by foreign adversary entities and require mandatory CFIUS filing for foreign adversary entities making land purchases near sensitive sites, including all military facilities.

CFIUS is an interagency committee authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment in the United States and certain real estate transactions by foreign persons, in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States. However, there are significant gaps in the current process.

The Protecting U.S. Farmland and Sensitive Sites From Foreign Adversaries Act would:

  • Give CFIUS jurisdiction over all land purchases (with exceptions for real estate in urban areas and single housing units) by foreign adversary entities.
    • This would avoid a repeat of the “FuFeng incident” where, despite a clear national security concern to a military installation in North Dakota, CFIUS claimed it was unable to even review (let alone block) the transaction because the land was outside the scope of CFIUS jurisdiction.
  • Authorize CFIUS to consider U.S. food security, including via biotechnology acquisition, as a factor in its national security reviews and require the Secretary of Agriculture have a vote in CFIUS reviews of transactions that involve farmland or agriculture technology.
  • Establish a “presumption of non-resolvability” by CFIUS that raises the approval threshold for CFIUS transactions by a foreign adversary entity purchasing near sensitive sites (e.g., major military sites, acknowledged intelligence facilities, etc.)
    • CFIUS will be required to review these transactions with the presumption that the national security concerns cannot be resolved.
  • Mandatory CFIUS filing for foreign adversary entities making land purchases near sensitive sites. This will ensure CFIUS remains apprised of ongoing real estate purchases by foreign adversary entities.
  • Expand the list of sensitive national security sites designated for CFIUS jurisdiction.
    • Require CFIUS to expand the list of sensitive national security sites to all military facilities, acknowledged intelligence sites, national laboratories, and defense-funded university-affiliated research centers, critical telecommunication nodes, and more. Current CFIUS regulations only cover a limited number of sensitive sites, and does not include all military facilities, national laboratories, and other sites. CFIUS is also limited to sensitive sites that are US government property.

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.

His support for this bill is part of Rep. Gallego’s ongoing work to ensure that Arizona farmlands and water are first and foremost for the benefit of Arizona farmers and consumers. Earlier this year, he introduced the Domestic Water Protection Act to stop the abuse of water resources by foreign governments in Arizona and other drought-stricken states.