A Midwestern House representative accuses President Joe Biden of completely overlooking rural Americans in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Iowa GOP Representative Randy Feenstra, who sits on both the powerful Ways and Means Committee and the House Agriculture Committee, said the president’s speech didn’t go far enough in his criticism of China — noting that Biden was silent on the concerns about Beijing-backed companies buying up US farmland at an alarming rate.
Feenstra also told DailyMail.com that he was frustrated that Biden did not go after Mexico, a major US trading partner, because of recent changes that would hurt US corn growers and violate the USMCA agreement between the two countries and Canada.
“I was just really disappointed that rural America is essentially last on Biden’s list of priorities,” the congressman said.
“He never talked about the granary, never about agriculture, never about biofuels — he said inflation is coming down, but it’s still hurting our farming communities. It’s still hurting our small businesses on our high streets.”
Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and on the House Committee on Agriculture
He said that after his State of the Union speech, President Biden showed himself “loose” from rural America
Feenstra said he believes the president is simply “unrelated to rural America.”
National security hawks paid special attention to the portion of Biden’s nearly 90-minute speech in which he addressed US competition with China, vowing to oppose Beijing’s encroaching influence.
It comes days after the Air Force shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over several US states last week — at an altitude low enough to be seen with the naked eye — before finally being shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
“Today we are in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world,” the president said Tuesday night. “Make no mistake: as we made clear last week, we will act to protect our country if China threatens our sovereignty. And we did.’
But Feenstra said Biden missed an important “premise” to do just that by not mentioning Chinese companies buying up vast tracts of American land.
“This is the number one problem in rural America right now — I mean, it’s this and inflation,” he said. “We hear about it from every farmer who is concerned about when they’re going to buy land, that it’s being bought by a foreign adversary.”
“It creates food security problems, but it also creates national security problems.”
Iowa is one of the states that has banned or restricted foreign purchases of farmland.
Two Fufeng Group employees visit Grand Fork, North Dakota, on a site visit before the company purchases 300 acres of farmland. It is one of several planned land purchases by Beijing-backed companies that have alarmed US national security observers
In the past few years alone, national security experts have sounded the alarm about large tracts of farmland being bought by Chinese-backed companies in Texas and North Dakota that happen to be very close to US military activity.
And willingness to address the issue has been shown on both sides of the aisle, Feenstra told DailyMail.com.
But as for Biden, Feenstra said his failure to mention farmland purchases by Chinese companies ultimately undermined the president’s attempt to portray a dominant America on the global stage.
“He showed weakness to the world,” the Republican said.
“As a Midwestern congressman, I’m just disappointed that he never talked about agriculture, never about how we feed the world. It’s just very disappointing.’
And on Mexico, Feenstra called reports that the country is trying to ban imports of US-grown biotech corn a “major problem.”
He noted that Mexico accounted for a quarter of US corn exports.
‘We have talked [the Department of Agriculture] about this, and they were very good about wanting to work with us, but there are still a lot of concerns. This frightens me enormously,’ said Feenstra.
But he added of the US-Mexico economic talks, “We’ve seen this for the past six months and they don’t want to deal with it through trade.”
“I mean, just today we have a $948 billion trade deficit. That’s a nearly trillion dollar trade deficit that nobody is talking about,” Feenstra said, adding that it was also an untapped topic in Biden’s State of the Union address.