Tag Archives: Senator Ben Sasse

America’s farmers and ranchers are in a bind, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has lot of nerve asking Nebraskans to write her checks while she’s holding agriculture hostage.

This weekend, Pelosi, the nation’s most powerful Democrat and the only person standing between Nebraskans and the certainty that comes with trade, headlined a political fundraiser in Omaha while stonewalling the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Congress. Nebraska farmers and ranchers are ready to feed the world, but thanks to naked partisanship in Washington, we’re losing trade markets.

The USMCA deal, struck late last year, would help Nebraska agriculture. This is a free-trade win for farmers and ranchers that would provide secure market access, favorable trading terms and long-term stability. It would reinvigorate trade relationships with our friends while protecting against foul play by our adversaries, such as China. The only hang-up is that Pelosi needs to bring the trade deal to the House floor for a vote.

Time is running out. If Pelosi doesn’t cut the politics and schedule a vote before the end of the year, farmers and ranchers will face 2020 with more confusion and uncertainty. This strain is bad news for Nebraska and two of our most important trading partners.

Nebraska wins with trade to Canada and Mexico. The USMCA would help to keep America’s agricultural sector strong by bolstering these partnerships in ways that make sense for an economy that has changed since the early 1990s. Mexico and Canada are the top markets for American agricultural exports — more than $40 billion in 2018, up from $8 billion in 1993, the year before NAFTA went into effect. Nebraska producers benefited enormously from that long-standing agreement. Now, the USMCA is expected to increase total U.S. trade to Mexico and Canada by more than $33 billion, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The USMCA also wisely follows NAFTA in making sure that agricultural duties remain low or, in most cases, nonexistent.

Pelosi isn’t doing her job. Congress is supposed to be the place where the American people deliberate about the big, long-term problems facing the country. Sadly, these days, angry partisans rage at the cameras on the empty floors of the House or in hallways crowded with Twitter-obsessed reporters. Pelosi would rather spend her time waging political war than getting this deal passed for farmers and ranchers. The Democrats’ clown show in the House shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for agriculture.

The USMCA is a good deal for American agriculture. It’s also a good steppingstone for future trade agreements. This deal shows we can protect our hardworking agricultural sector and will encourage the prosperity of our neighbors. That will bring more partners like Japan, the European Union and others to join us at the negotiating table. More mutually beneficial trading agreements with partners abroad will not only serve our economic interests, but will strengthen our position against countries such as China, whose exploitative trade practices are part of a larger campaign to undermine American influence worldwide.

Pelosi’s delay tactics threaten these gains. Farmers and ranchers need long-term certainty about who they will be able to sell to and under what terms. Right now, they don’t have it. Subsidies and bailouts cannot compensate for uncertain or permanently diminished market access. Likewise, the U.S. is sure to alienate potential trading partners if it looks like any country that involves itself with America is liable to end up hostage to short-term political maneuvering.

This should be above politics. Keeping our agricultural sector strong and secure should be a bipartisan concern. Our farmers and ranchers deserve better than to be pawns in Washington’s political games. Speaker Pelosi, cut the bull, bring USMCA up for a vote and let Nebraska agriculture grow again.

Nebraskans are ready to reap the benefits of the United States – Mexico – Canada – Agreement (USMCA) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should act immediately to secure Congressional passage of USMCA to help them do so. That’s the message delivered by Nebraska elected officials and agriculture leaders during an Oct. 26 news conference to highlight the importance of USMCA, amidst Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Omaha for a political event.

The USMCA would replace the more than 25-year-old, North American Free Trade Agreement between the countries, modernizing the U.S. trading relationship with two of the U.S. largest trading partners, providing major benefits to U.S. businesses and consumers.

In preparation for the Pelosi visit, nearly 4,000 Nebraskans signed onto a letter to the Speaker encouraging Pelosi to act swiftly to pass USMCA legislation in the House.

While the Trump Administration negotiated and signed the USMCA deal more than a year ago, the agreement can’t be implemented until ratified by Congress. The U.S. Senate is expected to pass the agreement once acted upon in the House. Action in the House is entirely dependent Pelosi scheduling a USMCA vote.

Given that Mexican officials ratified the USMCA in June and Canadian officials are waiting to see if the U.S. will follow suit, it’s critical the House take swift action to advance the USMCA deal.

Quotes:

Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president
“Mexico and Canada are two of Nebraska’s largest and most valuable trading partners. Those two countries collectively purchase more than 21 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. It’s time for Speaker Pelosi to bring USMCA to floor of the House for a vote so we can continue to move forward in bringing long-term stability to these markets for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse
“Talk about shameless: Speaker Pelosi is raising money for socialists while she’s picking our pockets. Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers need trade and Speaker Pelosi, the nation’s most powerful Democrat, is stonewalling the USMCA deal. Knock it off, Nancy — schedule the vote.”

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer
“Mexico and Canada are our two biggest trading partners. USMCA is a good deal for Nebraska agriculture and it’s also important for the manufacturing sector. Speaker Pelosi needs to stop her delay tactics so we can pass this critical agreement.”

Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02)
“USMCA is critical to our agricultural industry, expanded trade, and every community across Nebraska’s 93 counties. The trade agreement was signed in November of 2018 and has been awaiting Nancy Pelosi’s action for months. All former Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan have urged its ratification and 250 bi-partisan members of the House have indicated their support for it. Pelosi’s hate for President Trump and her unwillingness to do anything that could look favorable for him is hurting our trade, agriculture and economic growth.”

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)
“Get er done.”

Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03)
“The cost of delay is too great. It’s time to pass USMCA and begin unlocking the benefits of a modernized agreement. USMCA is a win for U.S. farmers, producers, and consumers. Speaker Pelosi should schedule a vote without any further delay or political games.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts
“President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical for Nebraska as we work to grow opportunities for farm and ranch families in a time of low commodity prices. Sadly, Nancy Pelosi and Washington Democrats in Congress have dragged their feet on approving the trade deal. The longer they delay, the more Nebraska’s ag producers are going to miss out on opportunities. It’s time to put politics aside and to seal the deal!”