'About time': Biden admin proposes Committee on Foreign Investment expansion to oversee 56 more areas around military bases

WASHINGTON, DC -  Reports released Monday revealed that the U.S. Treasury Department announced a proposed expansion of the Treasury committee's jurisdiction allowing it to review and potentially intervene in foreign land purchases in proximity to military installations.

As reported by Newsweek, the Treasury proposal would increase the jurisdiction of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States or CFIUS to another 56 military facilities nationwide, bringing the overall total to 227 subject to the committee's purview. This would allowing it to assess transactions nearby for national security risks.

The committee, which is composed of staff from the Departments of State, Justice, Energy, and Commerce, among others, was created in 2018 by legislation empowering it to force changes in property ownership structures and impose divestitures on corporations. 

The proposed expansion announcement came at the same time Judicial Watch announced a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury demanding the committee's communications with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the purchase of vast tracts of farmland by foreign enterprises.

The lawsuit is in response to the CFIUS failure to respond to a FOIA request submitted in April citing a January 19, 2024, Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that noted a major gap in information sharing between CFIUS and the USDA on foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land.

The report states, "Recent national security risks related to foreign investments in U.S. agricultural land have highlighted the importance of CFIUS’s reviews. CFIUS is the main authority to address the national security ramifications of foreign investment in the United States, according to Treasury and DOD officials. However, we found that CFIUS does not currently have regular and timely access to detailed AFIDA [Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act] information, the nation’s most comprehensive data on foreign investments in U.S. agricultural land, according to USDA officials."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement, "Chinese and other foreign purchases of U.S. farmland could pose a significant threat to U.S. national security. That the Biden administration is hiding records about this concerning issue is not reassuring." 
According to ABC News, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claimed in a statement that the Biden White House is “committed to using our strong investment screening tool to defend America’s national security, including actions that protect military installations from external threats.”
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