Ernst: House Democrats need to do their job, pass USMCA

As Published In: The Gazette

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was ratified in 1994. That was three years before Wi-Fi 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 Donald 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 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Passing this trade agreement will allow us to compete in today’s 21st-century economy. The USMCA is about modernizing a trade deal that will grow more than 175,000 jobs across this country.

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 this trade deal will have on Iowa’s economy, and the US economy as a whole.

In Iowa, one out of every five jobs is tied directly to trade. And Mexico and Canada are our state’s top two trading partners. Last year alone, we exported $6.6 billion worth of products to just Canada and Mexico. That’s more than we exported to our next 27 top export markets combined. Ratifying this agreement will be a shot of positive energy into Iowans’ businesses, homes, and to folks all across rural America.

So the question is, what’s preventing Congress from getting the USMCA done? 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.

It’s time for Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to prioritize the business of the American people over partisan games. When it comes to trade with our neighbors to the north and the south, it’s simple: we need the USMCA passed through Congress as soon as possible. It’s already been ratified by Mexico. And it looks like Canada is set to follow suit.

House Democrats needs to do their jobs so that Iowa farmers, manufacturers, and business owners can do theirs. Now is the time to pass the USMCA.

To read the senator’s op-ed in The Gazette, click here.