Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.) visited with Illinois Farm Bureau leaders on Aug. 14 and heard directly about their desire to see the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) cross the finish line as well as received an update on farm conditions, infrastructure, biofuels and the ongoing trade war.
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) arranged for Pelosi to speak at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Assn. brunch, kicking off Governor’s Day at the annual Illinois State Fair.
Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert Jr. expressed appreciation for what he said was a “productive discussion” with Pelosi and Bustos on key issues facing farmers in Illinois.
“As we’ve seen our export markets shrink, farmers are anxious to see timely congressional action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, support for biofuels and a robust infrastructure package that repairs our aging locks and dams. We left the meeting confident in the speaker’s approach and in her determination to reach a strong agreement for our family farmers,” Geubert said in a statement.
Pelosi has been involved with several working groups to prioritize USMCA concerns in an effort to find a path forward on approval of the major trade pact with Canada and Mexico.
“After our meeting, I am more confident USMCA will get a vote on the House floor and that the agreement will win strong bipartisan support in the House. Still, we take absolutely nothing for granted and will continue to make the urgent case for ratification until the final votes are cast,” said Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau national legislation and policy director.
Pelosi said in a statement from Bustos’ office that she was honored to listen and learn from the leaders of the Illinois Farm Bureau during this difficult time for America’s farming families.
“Farmers and rural communities across America are struggling under the weight of a weak farm economy, as prices and incomes plummet and more and more families are at risk of losing the farm. Yet, sadly, the President continues to push reckless policies that cruelly jeopardize their financial security and well-being,” Pelosi said. “Our Democratic House is proud to have fought to secure billions to help rural communities rebuild after historic flooding and to fight every day to strengthen the farmer safety net, advance smart trade policies that help farmers and deliver the certainty and stability that farming communities need and deserve.”
The Iowa Soybean Assn. also stated that the latest national crop report revealed the strong need for Congress to act on the idled USMCA in Congress.
“We’re getting hammered from all sides,” said Iowa Soybean Assn. president Lindsay Greiner, who farms near Keota, Iowa. “It’s long past time for the Administration and Congress to act. If they don’t, a good share of the damage done to America’s family farms will be permanent.”
During the August congressional recess, Farmers for Free Trade, a nationwide, bipartisan coalition of agricultural commodity groups, announced that its Motorcade for Trade tour rolled through state fairs and agricultural events in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota as well as the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., in support of USMCA.
Since April, the Motorcade for Trade has made 50-plus stops in more than 20 states. The tour has included visits with more than 30 members of Congress and their staff. Following the August tour, the Motorcade for Trade will travel to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12 for a rally in support of USMCA.