House Finally Moves on USMCA. McConnell Says No Movement in Senate Until After Impeachment Trial.

The Democratically-controlled House announced a deal to move USMCA forward and hope to vote next week in the House. Finally. The updated trade deal, struck last year with Canada and Mexico, has been sitting in the House with farm-state representatives urging movement. Many rightfully wondered aloud what took the House so long to act. Was it just to prevent a “win” for Trump? Now, with the Republican Senate Majority Leader indicating it will take time, will we hear those same frustrations?

Shortly after the announcement was made by the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, politicians began issuing public comments. North Dakota’s delegation celebrated and asked what took so long. The reaction is warranted and the questioning understandable. We’ve been wondering the same thing.

“My only question is why it took so long.” – Congressman Kelly Armstrong

“Today’s agreement is long overdue.” – Senator Kevin Cramer

“After being held up for more than a year in the House, it is time that House leadership moves this agreement quickly and gets it over to the Senate.” – Senator John Hoeven

“We urge House leadership to put it to a vote quickly so it can advance to the Senate for approval and be implemented as soon as possible.” – Governor Doug Burgum

The only thing that stood in the way of getting this agreement done quickly was House Democrats. That is what we were told for the last year. But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be in no rush to get the deal pushed through the Senate. Following the announcement, McConnell said the Senate won’t act on the USMCA until after impeachment hearings ended.

Hurry up and wait! Albeit later than when it should have been done, the House is finally moving USMCA forward. Just as farmers were right to be upset with the delay in the House, they shouldn’t accept a slow down in the Senate. Yet, it appears McConnell is trying to say the Senate can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

The delay in trade agreements has been frustrating as we witness the hardships facing our farmers. Some delays have come from the administration enabled by the lack of urgency from members in Congress. However, the slow walk of the USMCA was on the House. At least, until now. If McConnell is slow to take it up, will we hear the same repeated outrage from our politicians? Will Hoeven and Cramer push their leader to get out of the way and get the deal done? It will be telling whether or not those driving the “do nothing” narrative – now publicly contradicted by the Republican leader in the Senate – were doing so out of dedication to the deal or partisan politics.

Tyler Axness
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