The last time Congress meaningfully debated trade between our two North American partners, the Buffalo Bills had just lost their third consecutive Super Bowl and Mrs. Doubtfire was in theaters. In 1993, very few Americans had a cellphone, and no one had ever heard of buying a book on Amazon.
This is why President Donald J. Trump decided to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement was woefully out of date, and over time, our trading relationship with Canada and Mexico has fallen out of balance
President Trump kept his promise to renegotiate NAFTA, signing the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) in November 2018, but congressional Democrats are refusing to bring the USMCA for a vote, because it pains them to admit that President Trump is successfully delivering real results for our economy.
The USMCA will add $68.2 billion into our economy, support two million manufacturing jobs, and will create 176,000 new American jobs. For those working in the automotive industry – including thousands of Hoosiers here in Indiana – this means $34 billion in new automotive manufacturing investments and $23 billion in new annual purchases of Made-in-America automotive parts.
More good news: Under USMCA, our dairy farmers will receive increased access to Canada’s dairy market, and Canada has pledged to eliminate many of their milk price classes that put American farmers at an unfair disadvantage. Finally, small and medium-sized businesses will be able to participate in our global economy with more predictable and transparent rules.
In my home state of Indiana – which is one of the top manufacturing states in the country, with annual wages for manufacturing jobs averaging over $75,000 – ratifying this agreement will result in higher wages for those already in the industry and more Hoosier jobs for individuals looking for good-paying opportunities.
It’s time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues to put aside their partisan feud with President Trump and put our country first.
House Democrats have spent decades fundraising against NAFTA, but now that they have an opportunity to replace it with a better agreement — one that includes a minimum wage for Mexican auto workers and provisions to protect American jobs from unfairly traded Chinese products — they refuse to debate it on the floor of the House.
Instead of complaining that President Trump is hurting famers, the House should pass USMCA to relieve some of the pressure, solidifying new markets for American farmers, ranchers, and growers.
As a Main Street entrepreneur who has created hundreds of American jobs, I applaud President Trump’s action to rectify the longstanding inequities in our trade relationships that have hurt American workers. Now it’s up to Congress to hold up our end of the deal and ratify the USMCA.
Mike Braun represents Indiana as a Republican in the U.S. Senate. He is a member of the Aging Committee, Agriculture Committee, Budget Committee, Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP). Before his election to the Senate in 2018, he was the founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing, a company he built in his hometown of Jasper that employs hundreds of Americans across the country.