By Sen. Joni Ernst
As we start off the New Year, I’m wasting no time in getting straight back to work and delivering big wins for Iowa. After only a couple of weeks, I’m excited to have two key victories in the books that will make a big difference for folks across our state.
First, I was proud to cast my vote for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal—or USMCA—and to finally send it to the President’s desk.
This trade deal with Iowa’s top two trading partners, Mexico and Canada, will bring much-needed certainty and predictability for our farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners. In fact, Iowa exports more to Mexico and Canada than we do to our next 27 trade partners combined. The USMCA will allow those numbers to grow exponentially by creating new export opportunities and over 175,000 jobs across the country.
I’ve heard time and again from Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and business owners about the need for the USMCA. And each time, for more than a year, I would convey that message loud and clear to my colleagues in the House.
Just recently, I kicked off my annual 99 County Tour for 2020 with a farmers’ roundtable in Montgomery County. It was no surprise: the item that was top-of-mind for those farmers was the USMCA. After all, that was the case on last year’s 99 County Tour too.
While it took House Democrats far too long to move on it, the Senate got right to work. My friend and colleague Senator Chuck Grassley teed-up the trade deal in the Finance Committee almost as soon as lawmakers got back to DC at the start of the year. And, just a few days later, I helped usher it through the Environment and Public Works Committee and onto the Senate Floor for a final vote.
The USMCA will be a shot of positive energy into the businesses and communities across rural America. I’m proud to finally get this trade deal across the finish line.
Of course, that’s not the only big news as we start the year. Last week, I also joined President Trump at the White House as he signed the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement, another major win for Iowa.
As Iowa’s 4th largest trading partner, China is a critically important market for our farmers and manufacturers. Through this deal, China has agreed to buy $200 billion worth of U.S. goods and services over the next 2 years, including more than $30 billion in farm goods and $70 billion in manufactured goods.
While it’s critical we keep the pressure on China to follow through on this, we are seeing some very positive momentum, especially for our agriculture markets and manufacturers. As we move forward, I’ll be continuing to work with the Administration on ways to ensure China is holding up their end of the deal and to help Iowa’s farmers and producers succeed.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting start to the new year for our great state of Iowa. From the Phase One China agreement being finalized, to the USMCA moving through the Senate, I’m proud to work with President Trump to deliver real results for Iowa’s farmers and manufacturers.
Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.