In an unlikely twist, two Democrat secretaries of Agriculture have endorsed a central part of Sen. Tommy Tuberville’sFARM Act.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and former Secretary Mike Espy backed the provision in Tuberville’s legislation that would add the position to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Espy believes the portion of the bill that he has endorsed will help the agriculture economy across the country.
“The upcoming farm bill is also an opportunity to strengthen our domestic agriculture industry,” said Espy who served under President Bill Clinton. “I would urge the president to consider adding the secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services as members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews the sale of critical infrastructure to foreign entities.
“This may help the current and future administrations to consider the security of our nation’s food and agriculture systems as a factor when determining to act to block foreign investment – especially from China.”
Vilsack said the addition of the Agriculture secretary to the the CFIUS would benefit the industry.
“There is, in fact, an agricultural interest in a particular company or a particular transaction,” he said. “Being a permanent member (of CFIUS) would allow us to educate the other members of CFIUS about what to look for and what to be sensitive to when it comes to agriculture and agriculture production.”
CFIUS is authorized to oversee and review foreign investment and ownership in domestic businesses as it relates to national security.
Original cosponsors of the FARM Act in the Senate include Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.).