By Bobby Frederick, Director of Legislative and Public Affairs
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and newly elected vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference, said she is confident the Senate could approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
In a speech on March 7 before about 80 members of the Agribusiness Club of Washington, D.C., Ernst covered a variety of topics ranging from trade negotiations with China and the USMCA to the Green New Deal. When asked about enacting the USMCA, Ernst expressed confidence in the Senate’s ability to approve it and urged the agribusiness community to focus its advocacy efforts in the House. She also noted that once the USMCA is ratified, there won’t be a need for the Section 232 tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum imports.
Recounting a phone call with President Donald Trump earlier this week – the two speak frequently – she said the president was bullish on a trade deal ultimately coming together with China. He told agricultural equipment manufacturers working with Ernst that under the deal the administration team is pursuing, they “wouldn’t be able to produce ag machinery quick enough to satisfy the demand.”
As a member of Senate Republican leadership team, Ernst organizes opportunities for her conference to dialogue on timely issues on the Senate floor. This week, the dialogue covered the Green New Deal resolution, which sets a goal of net-zero global emissions by 2050. Ernst pushed back strongly on the Green New Deal as a proposal that would unfairly affect rural areas and have negative impacts on the agricultural supply chain. She touted the fact that 40 percent of the electricity in Iowa is provided by wind energy, an amount that could double in the next few years.
On the topic of infrastructure, Ernst struck a bipartisan note to promote her work on inland waterways with Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. She noted that revitalizing and strengthening lock-and-dam projects was prominent on the list of priorities she recently submitted as a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee.
The Agribusiness Club of Washington, D.C., is comprised of government relations professionals of agricultural trade associations and companies representing the entire value chain. NGFA Director of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy Bobby Frederick serves as the club’s president. The organization conducts quarterly bipartisan lunches with congressional leaders.