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Senators to File Protect Our Bases Act to Tighten Screening of Foreigners’ Land Purchases

united states senate

Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Id., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., are set to introduce the Protect Our Bases Act of 2023 in the Senate to ensure a broader and tighter scrutiny of foreigners’ land purchases near U.S. military sites and other security-sensitive areas.

The measure seeks to amend Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 to include intelligence community sites and national laboratories as locations sensitive to national security.

According to a press release announcing the bill announcement, the proposed legislation will require the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to compile annual updates and reviews of security-risk areas from its member agencies tasked to examine real estate transactions.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Mike Rounds, R-SD, Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., and Katie Britt, R-Ala., further directs CFIUS to submit an annual report to Congress certifying the reviews’ completion and accuracy.

The bill announcement, published on Crapo’s official website, cited the case of Fufeng Group, with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, who wanted to buy land near North Dakota’s Grand Forks Air Force Base. Although the purchase was blocked, CFIUS initially could not review the transaction because the property is unlisted in the Department of Defense’s records on national security-sensitive sites.   

Pointing out Idaho’s facilities with national security significance, such as the Idaho National Laboratory, Crapo said the installations must be protected from foreign adversaries.

In a related move in July, U.S. senators approved by a 91-7 vote bipartisan amendments to the annual defense policy bill to ban China, Iran, North Korea and Russia from buying U.S. farmland.

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