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Dems, union hold trade agreement hostage

 

Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 15, 2019

MADISON — It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s right for U.S. farmers, manufacturers, the economy at large, says state Rep. Rob Summerfield. 

The Bloomer Republican is urging Gov. Tony Evers to voice his support for the United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Summerfield last week joined 33 other Assembly Republicans in sending the governor a letter detailing the significance of the agreement designed to replace NAFTA. 

“The USMCA is a trade deal for the 21st Century. It levels the playing field  with our North American neighbors by removing unfair and predatory trade barriers; strengthens intellectual property protections to support innovators and entrepreneurs between our three nations; and prioritizes American manufacturers in a way that has not been seen in this country for decades,” the letter states. 

As of Friday, the governor had yet to respond to the Republicans’ request. 

While House Democratic leadership has sounded more optimistic that a vote is forthcoming, Summerfield said partisan politics are getting in the way of this important trade deal. 

“With the impeachment (hearings) going on, I think the House Democrats are just concerned about that instead of caring about the people of the United States,” the lawmaker told Empower Wisconsin Friday morning on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA. 

Summerfield said he’s hopeful “moderate Democrats” like U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, of La Crosse, can persuade Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the deal needs to get done — particularly in a state that is losing dairy farms at an alarming rate. Kind, however, sounds like he’s all in on the impeachment inquiry as the Democrats’ show trial against Trump takes center stage and precedence over policy. 

Much is at stake. As many as 12 million jobs are supported by trade agreements between Mexico and the U.S, according to Yahoo Finance. Mexico was the first to ratify the agreement. The U.S and Canada remain. 

Free trade advocates say the agreement could help pump up a sagging global economy that has taken a bite out of U.S. growth. 

Summerfield and other Assembly Republicans got an update from the White House on USMCA last week. There was reason for some hope. 

The agreement has bipartisan support, including from every U.S. ag secretary from the Reagan administration on. 

“My goal is that if we don’t hear from (the governor) we’ll do a follow-up and continue asking him for support,” Summerfield said. “We’re hopeful that Gov. Evers will see how important this is for the state of Wisconsin.” 

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