WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Energy and Rural Development, continued to call on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her House colleagues to move on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). On the Senate floor, she outlined the importance of this agreement for her home state of Iowa.
Read the transcript of her remarks below:
“There is something we can do in Congress today – right now, right this very minute – that would lift a burden and provide peace of mind for millions of people across the country.
“As we all busy ourselves making holiday plans, Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers are struggling to confidently look to the future.
“Many of the tools they need to feel confident and secure in the months ahead are laid out in the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement.
“The USMCA trade agreement was signed by President Trump 369 DAYS ago…369 days ago.
“Folks, that’s over ONE YEAR.
“Speaker Pelosi and her House colleagues have had more than enough time to pass this important agreement, yet they’ve failed to do so.
“Instead, House Democrats are fixated on impeaching the President.
“Let’s not forget though…when the House Democrats decided to go down this impeachment path, the American people were guaranteed that the House Democrats, would be able to ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time. They promised that they could process this impeachment inquiry while continuing to do the work of the people.
“Well, folks, there’s not much walking and chewing gum going on… Instead that gum seems stuck under some park bench, somewhere, that’s where we are today, folks. While millions of Americans whose livelihoods are tied to trade wait for the Democrats to get serious.
“It’s really unthinkable that USMCA is not already ratified by the United States.
“Folks, the USMCA is written. It is signed. It is agreed to by our partners. All we have to do is vote to pass it. It really is that simple.
“As I mentioned…it’s been over ONE YEAR since the trade agreement was signed. That means Iowa farmers have now gone through an entire cycle of planting, harvesting, and selling their crops without a finalized trade agreement with our two biggest trade partners.
“Yes, they are our two biggest trade partners – Mexico and Canada.
“I spent all year crisscrossing Iowa to visit all 99 counties…I do that every year, just as Senator Grassley does. And not once did I hear someone say, ‘hey Senator Ernst, let’s wait on the USMCA.’
“You know folks, it was quite the opposite.
“Whether I was at one of my 35 town hall meetings, that I held this last year, or during a farmer roundtable or visit to a small manufacturer, I heard consistently, and across the board, that Iowans want USMCA right now–they want it NOW.
“These hardworking folks know the impact the USMCA will have on our Iowa economy, and the US economy as a whole.
“There is no reason Iowans should have to wait any longer. There is no reason the American workers shouldn’t have the certainty they need.
“My House colleagues have not been able to offer any reasonable explanation for their inaction.
“I’d beg to say though folks, that it’s because of who sits in the White House. Which would be a sad reality that once again, Democrats would choose to put their own politics ahead of what’s best for the American people.
“Folks, the USMCA is not partisan – it’s not about President Trump. It’s about what’s best for hardworking Iowans. It’s what’s best for the American people.
“The work has been done for Congress. The trade agreement has been written. All we have to do is say, ‘Yes’ for the American people. That’s it. So simple.
“So folks, let’s get serious. Let’s do the simple task folks back home are asking us to do and that is to pass the USMCA.