Bingham dairy farm (copy)

Enough is enough. It’s time for Democrats in Congress to join their Republican colleagues and demand that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stop stifling our economies in the Midwest and finally approve President Trump’s new trade deal with our North American neighbors.

The trilateral United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) makes much-needed updates and revisions to NAFTA, correcting the imbalances that have kept American workers at a competitive disadvantage for decades and opening up much needed new markets for our farmers.

President Trump managed to get Mexico and Canada to sign the deal in remarkably short order, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to let the deal come up for a vote, leaving Wisconsin farmers and workers high and dry.

Pelosi has sidelined the USMCA for months despite bipartisan support for the deal, creating the impression that she’s obstructing a trade deal that would strengthen the U.S. economy for purely political purposes.

Of course, this political pettiness comes at a painful cost to ordinary Americans. Wisconsin and the 11 other Midwestern states export about $150 billion worth of goods to Mexico and Canada every year — a figure that is projected to increase by about 5-7% once the deal is implemented. This means that we’re missing out on billions of dollars and thousands of news jobs in America’s heartland while this deal remains in limbo.

The National Association of Manufacturers has observed that passage of the USMCA “is critical for Wisconsin manufacturers and workers,” noting that the state’s ability “to sell more American-made products to Canada and Mexico is tied directly to tariff-free and rules-based trade in North America.”

Of course, the Midwest is not the only region that will benefit from the USMCA — according to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the agreement will create 176,000 new jobs nationwide and add $68.2 billion to the U.S. economy.

For this reason, more than 350 organizations representing manufacturers across the country recently sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to ratify the USMCA “as soon as possible,” pointing out that North America is “the most significant trade market” for the U.S.

Mexico’s Senate has already approved the deal by an overwhelming margin, and Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is now publicly urging Speaker Pelosi to let Congress pass the trade deal, arguing that it will create a foundation for economic growth across the continent.

“There’s agreement, and I took the opportunity to send Mrs. Pelosi a letter explaining that it’s in the interest of the three peoples, the three nations, that this deal is approved,” AMLO explained.

Let’s come together. Wisconsin’s Congressional Democrats need to join with Republicans, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and dozens of other trade groups from across the state and region to insist that Pelosi bring the USMCA to a vote. Wisconsin farmers and workers need our support.

Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, represents the 24th District in the Wisconsin Senate. Testin is the Senate majority caucus vice-chair.

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