Shimkus: Farmers desperate for North American trade deal

John Shimkus, R-Collinsville

As trade talks dredge on, Illinois’ senior Republican House member says farmers in his district are pushing for the federal government to move on a deal with Mexico and Canada, but he suspects politics are getting in the way.

The agricultural community has been pushing Washington to hammer out a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement since Trump administration officials said they’re seeking a better deal for the U.S.

Southern Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, recently toured his district speaking to farmers, who he says are rightly stressed about the poor crop conditions. But they’re also pushing him and others to move forward with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Democrats, Shimkus suggested, are slow-walking the deal because they're reluctant to give Trump any kind of political win.

“The Democrat majority so much despises the president that they do not want to give him a victory at the expense of American farmers,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd in Iowa Tuesday that the USMCA needs to be voted on.

“We’ve got to have trade deals that put American jobs and American workers first,” he said. “Iowa and America need the Congress of the United States to pass the largest trade deal in American history. The time has come for Congress to pass the USMCA.”

Democrats have been tight-lipped about their progress on the deal but were scheduled to meet with Trump trade officials this week, according to a news release from the House Ways and Means Committee.

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