Click here or on the picture above to watch Thune’s speech.
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today called on House Democrats to bring up and pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It has been 13 months since the administration concluded USMCA negotiations, but instead of passing this legislation that would bring real relief to American workers, Democrats are prioritizing partisan politics.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, it’s now been 13 months since the administration concluded negotiations on the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement.
“13 months of uncertainty for U.S. farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, small businesses, digital firms, financial institutions, and many others.
“13 months of wondering what the rules of the road on trade are going to look like going forward.
“Mr. President, we should have passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement months ago.
“Republicans in the Senate have been ready to take up this agreement for a long time.
“But trade agreements have to be considered by the House of Representatives first.
“And the House of Representatives is controlled by the Democrat Party, which is far more interested in partisan pursuits than in actually doing any meaningful legislating.
“While House Democrats are happy to consider far-left messaging bills that have no chance of going anywhere, they have no interest in working with Republicans to actually get something signed into law.
“Democrats have convinced themselves that partisan posturing is more important than securing a bipartisan legislative victory, like a strong new trade deal that will benefit the American economy.
“And so they’re currently opposing a trade agreement that would benefit millions of American workers.
“Mr. President, let’s be very clear – Democrats’ decision to prioritize partisan politics is having real consequences for the American people.
“Right now, the members of our military are unable to fund new priorities because Senate Democrats are blocking consideration of defense appropriations.
“Farmers and ranchers in my home state of South Dakota and around the country are struggling, but House Democrats refuse to move forward on a trade deal – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – that would bring them relief.
“Mr. President, thanks to low commodity and livestock prices, natural disasters, and protracted trade disputes, farmers and ranchers have had a tough few years.
“And one of the biggest things we can do to help them is to take action on trade.
“Our nation’s farmers and ranchers depend on trade.
“When I talk to farmers and ranchers at home in South Dakota, they emphasize that the most important thing Washington can do to boost our agriculture economy is to take action on trade agreements.
“Farmers and ranchers need access to new and expanded markets for their products.
“And just as importantly, they need certainty about what international markets are going to look like going forward.
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would help meet those needs.
“It would preserve and expand farmers’ access to two critical export markets, and it would give farmers certainty about what these markets will look like long-term.
“I’m particularly pleased with the improvements the agreement makes for U.S. dairy producers.
“South Dakota has experienced a major dairy expansion over the past few years, and this agreement will benefit U.S. dairy producers by substantially expanding market access in Canada, where U.S. dairy sales have been restricted.
“The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the agreement will boost U.S. dairy exports by more than $277 million.
“The agreement will also expand market access for U.S. poultry and egg producers.
“And it will make it easier for U.S. producers to export wheat to Canada.
“And of course, the benefits for the agriculture industry are just one part of this agreement.
“Virtually every sector of our economy will benefit from the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – from manufacturing to digital services to the automotive industry.
“USMCA breaks new ground by including a chapter specifically focused on small and medium-sized businesses – the first time a U.S. trade agreement has ever included a dedicated chapter on this topic.
“Roughly 120,000 small and medium-sized businesses around our country export goods and services to Mexico and Canada.
“USMCA will make it easier for these businesses to successfully export their products.
“Mr. President, it would be nice if House Democrats woke up tomorrow and decided that 13 months was long enough to make America’s farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businessmen wait for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“But my hopes of seeing action from the House grow dimmer each day.
“Mr. President, Democrats in the House should be addressing the American people’s priorities.
“American workers shouldn’t be sacrificed for Democrats’ partisan political goals.
“I hope enough of my Democrat colleagues in the House will urge House leadership to bring up the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in the very near future.
“Americans have waited long enough.”