Rep. Steve Scalise: USMCA has widespread support -- It's time for Dems to stop blocking it

Should Congress pass bipartisan legislation that creates over 176,000 new jobs in America, or should Congress drag a duly-elected president into impeachment proceedings on the basis of false rumors?

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For most Americans, that’s a no-brainer. Congress should focus on making Americans’ lives better, not partisan showboating that threatens to tear our country apart.

In classrooms across the country, one of the most basic lessons we teach our children is that each of us must establish our priorities. Each one of us must make decisions about how we use our limited time and energy. Congress is no exception. Every year we have to reevaluate legislative priorities and decide what is a worthwhile use of our limited time.

Democrats have weighed their options and decided that putting the country through a divisive and pointless impeachment saga is a better use of time than lowering prescription drug prices, passing trade deals, or taking action to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. It’s clear that Democrats' hatred for President Trump outweighs their duty to make life better for hard-working families. Liberals in Congress just can’t stop themselves from appeasing the most radical elements of their base.

Democrats’ loss of interest in legislating is particularly bad when it comes to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA is the Trump administration’s replacement for the outdated NAFTA agreement, which was passed back in the 1990s, in a much different business and trade environment than the one we know now.

This historic, once-in-a-generation agreement is exactly the kind of legislation the American people send us to Congress to enact. We can level the playing field for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.

USMCA is widely bipartisan, supported by everyone from trade groups to farmers, and could be the law of the land as soon as this year if Democrats would just put it on the House floor for a vote.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) — the independent, bipartisan agency charged with providing trade expertise to Congress and the President — estimated that USMCA would create 176,000 jobs and raise our GDP by $68.2 billion. Our exports to Canada would increase by $19.1 billion and our exports to Mexico would increase by $14.2 billion. Most importantly, USITC notes “the agreement would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy.”

Amid concerns of a global economic slowdown, it’s clear that USMCA has the potential to keep delivering economic results for the American people for years to come.

How often do we have the opportunity to pass a mutually-beneficial, bipartisan trade deal that will buoy all sectors of our economy? This historic, once-in-a-generation agreement is exactly the kind of legislation the American people send us to Congress to enact. We can level the playing field for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.

So why isn’t this win-win legislation already law? Because Speaker Pelosi has other priorities: dragging President Trump through an impeachment inquiry built around a false premise. Specifically, the Democrats claimed President Trump made a quid pro quo agreement with Ukrainian President Zelensky, when the transcript, in fact, shows that there was no quid pro quo agreement, and nothing illegal that took place on the call.

Every week that we delay the passage of USMCA costs us jobs, higher wages, and a stronger economy. The Democrats’ radical base and their obsession with impeaching President Trump is having a reckless, detrimental effect on our workers and our economy. Speaker Pelosi is using Congress’s limited time and resources on a fill-in-the-blank impeachment effort.

I call on Speaker Pelosi to put the American people’s welfare above her radical base’s impeachment obsession. Get back to the American people’s business and put pro-growth policies like USMCA on the House floor for a vote immediately.

Republican Steve Scalise is the current United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative for Louisiana's 1st congressional district, serving since 2008. 

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