Determined Tester: No Chinese Farms in Montana
Montana Senator Jon Tester says all of the concern over Chinese "spy balloons" is emphasizing the ongoing concern over a country bent on doing "damage to America". And he believes it could build momentum for an idea he's been pressing in recent years. Passage of a bill to ban foreign "bad actor" nations from buying farmland in Montana and elsewhere across the U-S.
Tester is known for his conservative Democrat leanings when it comes to military issues. And he's certainly been making headlines as the U-S copes with an apparent wave of Chinese spy balloons drifting over North America.
Now, Tester is re-introducing a bill that hasn't gotten traction in recent Congressional sessions, a measure that would ban China, Russia, and others from purchasing American agricultural lands.
Tester says balloon incidents could improve chances of bill's passage
"Since this balloon has gone over it, it just elevates this issue much, much higher, which, by the way, is good for the passage of the bill," Tester told me last week. "I think it's a bill we need to pass and there have been some reports that China has bought farmland in the United States. That is not something we should be allowing people who want to do us damage, people who want to replace us economically, militarily in the world, which is what the Chinese Communist government wants to do, is not acceptable."
The "Promoting Agricultural Safeguards and Security", or PASS Act is cosponsored by Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota.
But should the government be able to step in and actually stop a willing seller, especially one who might be having a tough time financially on his ranch or farm from completing a deal?
Tester, with his farming background, admits money is important. But he believes there are other parties to sell to and retain value without involving "bad actors". And he said that's what he heard during a recent listening tour in Eastern Montana.
"Look, if you could somebody that has a farm that does sell out, you know it's a willing-buyer willing-seller with one exception. Folks that are from the Chinese Communist Party, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. These are bad actors that want to do us damage. There are other places you can sell the land to people that aren't a problem for the United States."