Marshall: New USMCA trade deal ‘gold standard’
U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement “the biggest trade agreement of our lifetime” that will translate into “thousands of jobs for Kansas.”
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 385-41 for the USMCA on Thursday. All members of the Kansas delegation supported it. All but three of those voting against it were Democrats.
Marshall would prefer the U.S. Senate quickly approve the legislation, but he said it will be affected by the articles of impeachment and when they reach the Senate for a trial of President Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set aside January for those proceedings, Marshall said. However, if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delays sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, McConnell could move the USMCA from February to January, Marshall said.
“If I was betting, I would bet on February,” Marshall said of Senate action on the trade deal.
There’ is “gamesmanship” and “it is holding Kansas hostage,” he said. Marshall repeatedly criticized Pelosi for not bringing the trade deal to the House floor earlier in the year.
The deal is “just a huge, huge Christmas present for the American farmer,” Marshall said in a conference call with the media Thursday. A news release from Marshall’s office contained praise for the pact from officials with Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association, as well as from leaders of grain and dairy associations.
It preserves “the unrestricted access for U.S. beef exports to Canada and Mexico,” said Matt Teagarden, CEO of the Kansas Livestock Association, in the release.
It “will ultimately lead to greater market access and stronger partnerships with our nearest neighbors,” Kansas Farm Bureau president Rich Felts said.
The USMCA is a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement and had the support of the AFL-CIO and the auto industry. It addresses issues ranging from digital trade to environmental issues to labor laws. It will help small business owners and manufacturers, Marshall said.
“This agreement is the gold standard for future trade agreements,” Marshall said, and will give Trump more reach as he negotiates a trade deal with China, he said.
Marshall said it was “hard to believe” the House voted Wednesday largely along partisan lines to impeach Trump, then passed a trade deal on a bipartisan vote.
Marshall contended the president did nothing impeachable, and he said he woke up Thursday morning with the intention to put “the impeachment behind us.” He said he played morning basketball with Republicans and Democrats, then attended a bipartisan prayer breakfast.