The two Republican congressmen who represent Bloomington-Normal praised bipartisan House passage of an updated trade agreement among the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood both voted in favor of the USMCA bill, which passed the House on Thursday on a 385-to-41 vote. The agreement would mark the first major trade deal struck by the Trump administration. It updates the North American Free Trade Agreement, which took effect a quarter-century ago.
It now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
"The modernized trade deal will build on the economic growth we have seen and create new, good-paying jobs,” Davis said in a statement. “I am especially pleased with the expansion of the markets for American farmers, as well as the provisions to incentivize more auto manufacturing and higher manufacturing wages. I applaud the Trump administration for their diligent work in securing a better trade deal for the American people.”
LaHood noted that “for the first time, Canada’s markets will be opened for American dairy, wheat, chicken, eggs, and turkey producers to sell their products.”
“USMCA is a win for Illinois and today is a victory for our farmers, manufacturers, and workers,” said LaHood. “Since the day this agreement was announced, I have been working to get it across the finish line and, after months of delay, I am proud to see it passed today. Forty percent of the products we grow in Illinois go to Mexico or Canada, and this trade pact will strengthen that vital relationship and provide needed certainty for our producers."
Democrats endorsed the trade deal after winning stronger enforcement of labor and environmental provisions and stripping a measure that would have locked in long-term patent protection for certain pharmaceutical products.
The new agreement includes provisions for digital trade and incentives that could shift some automotive manufacturing from Mexico to the U.S. or Canada.
Davis, who repeatedly asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring USMCA up for a vote, criticized the delay in its passage.
“I have been fighting for passage of this agreement from day one and I'm glad we finally got a vote in the House," said Davis. "But it’s disappointing that Speaker Pelosi has waited until after impeachment because now farmers will have to wait even longer for the Senate to be able to consider their top priority. This is not how our government should work. We should be able to set politics aside and move good, bipartisan legislation forward for the people we represent.”
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert said 1 in 5 acres in Illinois is planted to feed Mexican and Canadian consumers.
“We are ecstatic to see the bipartisan efforts by House leadership and the Trump administration to negotiate this important deal,” Guebert said in a statement. “The USMCA is an updated, modern trade deal with two of U.S. agriculture’s top three trading partners. It represents expanded market opportunity, ensures tariff-free access to those markets and shows the world that the U.S. is back in business in the global marketplace.”
The Senate is expected to act on the package next year.