Rep. Axne Delivers Floor Speech Urging Colleagues to Finalize USMCA

October 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep Cindy Axne (IA-03) delivered a speech on the House floor urging her colleagues to work quickly to finalize the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Administration must submit the agreement before Congress for approval and Congressional leaders have been in ongoing negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Full speech with audio available here.

“I visit each of the 16 counties in my district every month, whether its touring manufacturers, visiting with farmers, or stopping into small businesses. Everywhere I go the message is loud and clear: uncertainty is hurting our bottom line,” said Rep. Axne.Agriculture is the backbone of Iowa’s economy; 1 out of every 5 dollars in Iowa is produced from agriculture. Supporting our farmers is neither a partisan nor political issue – it’s simply the right thing to do.”

USMCA would modernize and build upon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which went into effect in 1994. Rep. Axne has heard from many constituents across her district about the importance of ensuring market access for Iowa’s agricultural and manufacturing products in Canada and Mexico, Iowa’s top two trading partners.

Iowa ranks first in the nation in exports of corn, pork, feed and other grains, and is number two in soybeans. Last year alone Iowa exported to Canada $4.2 billion in goods, 30 percent of the state’s total exports.

“Between devastating weather events, ongoing trade wars, and the EPA’s unprecedented abuse of biofuel waivers – our farmers have been put through enough.”

Following an announcement of 31 additional biofuel waivers in August, Rep. Axne requested the EPA’s Acting Inspector General conduct an investigation into the EPA’s highly questionable decision-making around the unprecedented use of small refinery exemptions for large or unqualified refineries. Rep. Axne has also stood up to Democratic leadership to ensure that Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments continue to assist farmers affected by the trade war.

“They are asking for our help as elected representatives. We must answer their call and get this deal done right and without unnecessary delay. I thank my colleagues for the work that they have done and urge them to expedite negotiations and finalize this agreement soon to make sure we can make lives whole for the people suffering in the state of Iowa and across this country,” Rep. Axne concluded.   

Also within the USMCA agreement are provisions dealing with labor standard protections and intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals that the House Working Groups are still negotiating. Rep. Axne wants an agreement that will strengthen oversight standards so foreign companies don’t undercut U.S. jobs and wages, and help reduce the cost of biologic prescription drugs for Iowans.

Video of Axne’s floor speech is available here: