Senate Takes Action: New Measures to Curb China’s Tech Investments and Farmland Purchases

In a decisive move, the U.S. Senate has given the green light to two amendments aimed at safeguarding American interests against foreign threats.

The amendments, which are part of the proposed defense budget, focus on technology investments in China and the acquisition of agricultural land by entities from certain nations.

The first amendment, championed by Senator John Cornyn of Texas and supported by a bipartisan group, mandates American tech companies to report any transactions with China-based firms to the Treasury Department. This amendment, which was passed with a 91-6 vote, is designed to prevent technology transfers that could potentially undermine U.S. strategic interests.

The second amendment, proposed by Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, seeks to prohibit individuals and entities from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from buying agricultural land in the U.S. This amendment, which also enjoys bipartisan support, was approved with an 89-8 vote.

These amendments are part of the 872 potential amendments submitted since the proposed $886.3 billion Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was advanced in a 24-1 vote on June 23. The Senate began deliberations on the NDAA on July 18, with at least 90 amendments, including 51 submitted by Republicans, set for floor debate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is keen to have the Senate’s NDAA adopted by July 28, before the upper chamber adjourns for the August recess. Schumer, along with other Senate leaders, is working on a second round of amendments for floor discussion in the coming days.

The House of Representatives has already approved its preliminary version of the proposed defense budget. However, the House version includes several “culture war” amendments that are unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The differences between the House and Senate versions of the defense budget will be resolved in conferences between the two chambers, with the aim of presenting a final NDAA for adoption before the new fiscal year begins on October 1.

The proposed amendments by Senators Cornyn and Rounds reflect the Senate’s commitment to protecting American interests against potential threats. The amendments aim to ensure transparency in tech investments and safeguard American food security, which is seen as a matter of national security.