Last week, the House Appropriations Committee, spearheaded by Representative Dan Newhouse (R – WA), approved the amendment to the USDA finding bill that would ban the People’s Republic of China under the exclusive control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from buying more U.S. farmland. Land currently owned by Chinese state-run companies would be excluded from receiving farm-program payments.
Congressman Kelly Armstrong joined Good Day Dakota to discuss his support of the “Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act.”
“There’s no real distinction between large Chinese businesses and the Chinese Communist Party. They’re intertwined completely. We’ve seen it with 5G, we’ve seen it with Huawei, we sure do not want to see that in the agricultural space.” said Armstrong.
Not all foreign-owned land in the U.S. is held by China, yet the amendment singles out China. The amendment points to the rising concern that China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 economy.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that our biggest strategic adversary moving into the 21st Century is China. We compete with them everywhere. They have a 100-year plan. Their goal is to overtake and usurp the United States, but I think more importantly when it comes to that as far as they deal with other areas and other countries – we promote democracy you can look at how we do that in Africa. And, that just simply isn’t the case with China.”
The amendment also stipulates that land already under China’s possession in the U.S. would become ineligible for farm-program payment.
“I don’t think anybody if they knew U.S. taxpayer dollars and agricultural program money was going to the Chinese government would be ok with that,” said Armstrong
Armstrong points to China’s buying of Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, SD as an example of how China’s consolidation of American industry is a threat to national security.
“The future of agriculture cannot get consolidated more. It’s not good for small towns. It’s not good for competition. The economies of scale in agriculture have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, but at the same time, we feed and fuel the world in North Dakota with family farms. Not corporate entities, not those types of things, and that’s a great insight to bring into this.”
Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) opposed the amendment, saying that singling out China would lead to further violence against Asian Americans, in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t know how targeting the Chinese Communist Party for not getting U.S. subsidies is in any way other way targeting the Chinese Communist Party from getting U.S. subsidies,” said Armstrong.