This week we passed the National Defense Authorization Act in the Senate. It’s the bill we pass every year to get resources to our military and to protect our national security.
In addition to securing resources for Ohio’s military installations, and including our FEND Off Fentanyl Act to target the illegal fentanyl supply chain in China and Mexico, we also worked to include two important, bipartisan bills to protect American technology and American farmland from China.
The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security, also known as the PASS Act, would prevent big investors from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from acquiring American farmland and food businesses.
We can’t allow foreign adversaries to buy up farmland in Ohio and around the country. It’s a threat to our national security, and it’s a threat to rural economies and our way of life.
Our bill with Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) would ban large investors in China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing U.S. farmland and agricultural companies. And it would require the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to consider agriculture needs when screening foreign investment affecting national security.
In the defense bill we also passed our amendment to include the Outbound Investment Transparency Act.
This bill with Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Bob Casey (D-PA) will allow us to better monitor corporations’ investments that allow foreign adversaries like China to gain access to sensitive technology, and to assess whether they pose a security threat.
For far too long, our policy around China catered to multinational corporations, and failed Ohio.
That bad, corporate-driven China policy has devastated local communities, eroded our manufacturing base, and undermined our national competitiveness – and it also helped build up the Chinese military.
When companies outsource jobs, they outsource innovation and technological capabilities along with them. And China has been all too happy to use that technology – in many cases, to steal it – to enhance their military capabilities.
We have to stop it. And shining a light on these corporate foreign investments and the risks they pose is a crucial first step.
Our bill would bring new transparency and help us understand the risks these investments pose to our economic and national security.
We passed both these bills with overwhelming bipartisan support —both got 91 votes in the Senate. It’s a win for Ohio communities that will protect our economic and national security from new threats from China and other adversaries around the world.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.