Washington, D.C. – While most of the world was watching the theatrical impeachment hearing in the House, Republicans were at work. On Monday, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined 159 Republicans sending Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter urging her to immediately consider and pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The letter expands on the importance of the trade deal to the agriculture industry which notably supports Idaho industries like dairy, potatoes, grain, and cattle.
“It is long past time to pass USMCA. President Trump struck this deal 375 days ago and our farmers and ranchers in Idaho need truly free and fair trade,” said Simpson. “That is what this deal delivers and I look forward to supporting it if Speaker Pelosi will allow a vote on this important trade agreement that will help Idaho.”
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
The undersigned Republican Members strongly urge you to ensure that the House of Representatives takes up and passes the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement this year.
With just two weeks remaining, the House has so far squandered the first session of the 116th Congress.
Rather than working together to pass bipartisan measures that could be signed into law, House Democrats have instead obsessed over a partisan impeachment process of which the sole purpose is to overturn the decision of voters in the 2016 election. The little remaining time has largely been consumed by passing partisan messaging bills that have no chance of enactment, even in the case where common ground could easily have been found.
Thankfully, it is not too late for House Democrats to do the right thing. For starters, the House should finally stop dithering on USMCA and pass this critically important trade agreement.
Nearly every agriculture group in America has called on Congress to pass USMCA, which significantly improves trade relations with our two largest trading partners that together purchase about one-third of all U.S. agricultural exports. Under USMCA, U.S. agricultural exports alone are expected to increase by more than $2 billion annually, helping to build on the 325,000 American jobs that are already reliant on our nation’s exports to Mexico and Canada.
Significant new market access for U.S. dairy, chicken, eggs, and turkey producers is expected under the agreement while strides are also made in favor of our wheat farmers. These and other improvements will greatly benefit U.S. farmers and ranchers who are struggling under the weight of a recession that began in late 2014.
Expanding U.S. agriculture exports through truly free and fair trade agreements will help put American agriculture back on its feet.
Mexico is already our corn growers’ number one customer, while Canada and Mexico buy close to half of our pork products. And beef sales to our immediate neighbors are estimated to add about $70 per head to the bottom line of U.S. cattlemen. Under USMCA, the United States has a real opportunity to expand on these successes at a time when U.S. farmers and ranchers and rural America need help the most.
USMCA already contains the strongest labor provisions of any trade agreement considered by the U.S. to date, and the Trump Administration has worked diligently and in good faith to address these issues because the President is absolutely focused on ensuring a level playing field for all U.S. workers.
Passing USMCA is a chance for the House to chalk up one critically important victory for the American people, and we urge you to seize this opportunity.