The House ignored claims it was indulging in “election year xenophobia” and passed a bill today to require major foreign investors to report their U.S. holdings to the government.
“The American people have the right to know who holds the mortgage on America,” Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) declared before the House approved the bill, 250 to 170, and sent it to the Senate.
The measure would require foreign investors with “a significant interest” in American property or business to report their identity and holdings to the Commerce Department. It would apply to those owning more than 5% of a business or property valued at more than $5 million or that has more than $10 million in annual gross sales.
Also covered under the bill sponsored by Rep. John Bryant (D-Tex.) would be investors holding more than 5% of a combination of two or more businesses or properties valued at more than $20 million or with annual gross sales of more than $40 million.
Critics of the measure argued that it would frighten off foreign capital.
Seventeen federal agencies already collect data on foreign ownership of American property, but the information is often kept secret, even from Congress.