WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, 327 days after President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Energy and Rural Development, spoke on the Senate floor calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats to pass this trade agreement with our nation’s top two trading partners.
Ernst noted that while the House has found time to do a lot of things—like continue their partisan expedition toward impeaching the president, passing legislation without a pay raise for our troops, and spending a lot of “energy” discussing the job killing Green New Deal—they have yet to pass the USMCA trade agreement that will benefit Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses.
Ernst’s full remarks are below:
“Mr. President, I come to the floor frustrated.
“Frustrated by the fact that it has been 327 DAYS since President Trump signed the USMCA and the House has done nothing to take it up.
“It’s not because the House hasn’t had time.
“They have found time to do a lot of things. Like continue on their partisan expedition toward impeaching the president. They passed a bill without a pay raise for our troops, spent a lot of “energy” on discussing the job killing Green New Deal, and one member of the House took the time to show the world she was frightened by her garbage disposal.
“So the question is, folks, what’s preventing Congress from getting the USMCA done?
“From Humboldt County to Hamburg– at my town hall meetings or during a visit to a small business or manufacturing plant and everywhere in between– I’ve been hearing one thing consistently and across the board: Iowans want the USMCA now.
“These hardworking folks know the impact the USMCA will have on Iowa’s economy, and the US economy as a whole.
“There is no reason Iowans should be waiting in limbo for this agreement to be ratified.
“Mr. President, this trade agreement is a win for the American people, plain and simple.
“Mexico has already ratified this deal, and Canada is well on their way. Our trade partners are ready.
“The United States – Mexico—Canada Agreement is about modernizing a trade deal with two of our closest allies that will grow more than 175,000 jobs across this country.
“NAFTA was ratified in 1994.
“That is three years before WiFi became available to the public, five years before USB drives were invented, twelve years before Facebook and Twitter launched, and sixteen years before computer tablets went on sale…
“None of us are living with 1994 technology, so why should we be living under 1994 trade policies?
“President Trump understands the need to modernize trade with two of our closest allies, and that’s why he negotiated a great trade deal with Mexico and Canada, and signed the USMCA.
“Passing the USMCA will allow us to compete in today’s 21st-century economy.
“It will provide folks back home in Iowa with some certainty…certainty in a time where prices have been low and markets have been eroded from other trade wars.
“Iowans want and need the USMCA.
“Canada and Mexico are our state’s top two trading partners. In 2018 alone, we exported 6.6 BILLION DOLLARS worth of products to our neighbors to the north and south.
“Trade with Canada and Mexico directly increases the value of Iowan exports like beef, adding 70 dollars in value to each cow that comes from the state.
“And in case you didn’t know, Mexico is the number one consumer of Iowa’s exported corn!
“I was up in Northwest Iowa a couple weeks ago visiting with one Iowa corn farmer and he said that if we were able to get the USMCA deal done, it would have a direct positive impact on his farm.
“And it’s not just our farmers who will benefit from the USMCA, it’s also our businesses and manufacturers.
“I was visiting with some business leaders at a roundtable in Des Moines and time and again they told me how important it is that we get this trade deal in place.
“All of this leaves me scratching my head wondering when the House was going to do what Americans are demanding?
“When will they stop obstructing the good work done by our President to get a deal in place?
“House Democrats needs to do their job so that Iowa farmers, manufacturers, and business owners can do theirs.
“Now is the time to pass the USMCA.”