Lucas bill aims to ensure national security of U.S. food supply

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) last week sponsored legislation that would protect the nation’s food supply by formally making the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency group that reviews potential national security threats of foreign investment. 

“I know firsthand just how important our agriculture industry is, which is why Congress must remove the hurdles that keep USDA from having a permanent seat at the table with CFIUS’ review of foreign transactions,” Rep. Lucas said.

The Agricultural Security Risk Review Act, H.R. 3413, which Rep. Lucas introduced on May 20, aims to ensure that CFIUS is operating effectively and efficiently to determine if a transaction, including agricultural, threatens to impair U.S. security, according to the congressman’s staff, which noted that because foreign ownership of America’s farmland and agricultural businesses continues to steadily increase, there is a need for expert analysis of this sector to be available to CFIUS.

“Protecting America’s agriculture security is a critical part of our national security,” said Rep. Lucas. “CFIUS is authorized to ensure that our country’s national security isn’t threatened by foreign investment, and with an increasing amount of foreign investment in U.S. agriculture, including the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of CFIUS is long overdue.”

The CFIUS is chaired by the U.S. Treasury Secretary and currently consists of nine members: the secretaries of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Energy, as well as the United States Trade Representative, the Attorney General, and the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

H.R. 3413 has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.