KTVQ: Tester addresses national security with bill aimed at China and U.S. farmland
White House and Senate briefings this week addressed the Chinese spy balloon that was over Montana and also other objects over the country.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., says he has security concerns with that balloon and also with the Chinese ownership of agriculture land in the United States.
According to CBS News, U.S. officials on Thursday say there is growing belief that the Chinese balloons initial course was intended to be over Guam and Hawaii, but was blown off course by winds and then crossed over the U.S. mainland.
However, Tester, who is chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said after a classified briefing on Wednesday, he does not believe it came into U.S. airspace inadvertently.
“I never believe anything is inadvertent when it comes to the Communist Party of China,” Tester said.
The Senator says it’s not known what the recent objects were that s shot down over the U.S., which the President addressed on Thursday.
“Nothing right now suggests they were related to China’s spy balloon program or they were surveillance vehicles from other any other country,” President Biden said.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said in a news release: “I will continue to demand the administration address these and other important issues because right now President Biden is not providing for the safety and security of the American people.”
Meanwhile, Tester is working with Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., on a bill that would ban China, Russia, North Korea and Iran from investing in, purchasing, leasing or acquiring us U.S. farmland.
He says China has worked to undermine U.S. national security.
“For too long, that’s included attempts to purchase American farmland and agribusiness,” said Tester. “Food security is national security. If you control food, you control people and we need to keep China and other foreign adversaries away from our food supply.”
The legislation, Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act, would require the Agriculture Secretary to report on what these countries own.
According to the Congressional Research Service and the USDA, China now owns more than 384,000 acres of agriculture land in the US.
“Every day, I get a brief of some sort that talks about the things that China’s doing, that is out of the norm that is pushing the envelope on things like national security,” Tester said.