Vice President Mike Pence called on Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) during his visit to Minnesota Thursday.
Pence made two stops during his Minnesota visit, first talking with farmers at R & J Johnson Farms in Glyndon before making his way down to St. Paul to talk with steelworkers at Gerdau Ameristeel.
While visiting with farmers on the Minnesota-North Dakota border, Pence was informed of the importance of exports to China for Minnesota’s soybean farmers.
“30 percent of our U.S. production hopefully goes to China. That hasn’t been the case, and that’s why we’re hurting,” one farmer told Pence.
“One of the things we wanted to show you as far as importance of trade. In Minnesota, 60 percent of all of our soybeans are exported. Every six rows of every 10 are exported. So exports are a huge, huge factor in agriculture for this state,” another added, noting that the “biggest export market is China.”
Minnesota’s DFL Party highlighted the exchange on Twitter, saying the Trump administration’s “trade wars are doing serious damage to soybean farmers across Minnesota.”
“Farmers are hurting, they said it to Mike Pence’s face. Farmers in the bottom 20 percent lost an average of $72,000 last year. Farm bankruptcies doubled in 2018,” the DFL said. “Maybe Trump doesn’t get that everyone doesn’t have a rich dad who can bail them out.”
THREAD: Today, Mike Pence heard how crucial trade with China is for Minnesota soybean farmers. Unfortunately, his administration's trade wars are doing serious damage to soybean farmers across Minnesota. #PenceInMN pic.twitter.com/kP1AUoYbEx
— Minnesota DFL Party (@MinnesotaDFL) May 9, 2019
Pence, however, maintained that farmers are “having a hard time” because “Congress isn’t acting and passing the USMCA.”
“The USMCA will give Americans the level playing field they need to win,” Pence wrote on Twitter, and urged Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, to push for a vote on the USMCA.
“The president has done his job—now Congress must do theirs,” Pence added.
The USMCA will give Americans the level playing field they need to win! Tell Collin Peterson, to use his position on @HouseAgDems to push for a vote in the House on USMCA! The President has done his job – now Congress must do theirs. Thank you, Glyndon! pic.twitter.com/BAZbxwUxx4
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 9, 2019
Later in the afternoon, Pence delivered a speech to a crowd of steelworkers gathered at St. Paul’s Gerdau Ameristeel.
“Manufacturing has come roaring back thanks to the policies that we’ve been advancing under this president’s leadership,” Pence said. “And American steel has come roaring back as well. So far this year, I just heard, that America has produced 33.6 million tons of steel. That’s almost a seven percent increase in production over the same time last year. American steel is producing again for America and the world.”
“It’s amazing. Steelmakers, like all of you gathered here, are running at the highest level of capacity since September of 2008,” he continued. “Companies like this are making it all happen each and every day. You’re doing the work that’s bringing American steel back.”
Pence told the crowd that he needs their help and asked them to “spread the word” about the USMCA.
“I really do need you to spread the word about the time for Congress to act is now. We need Congress to approve the USMCA and we need Congress to approve the USMCA this year,” he said.
The Minnesota Republican Party said it was “honored” to have Pence visit the state and talk “to real Minnesotans about how policies” under the Trump administration “are benefiting our daily lives.”
Welcome to the land of 10,000 Lakes @VP Pence!! We are honored to have you in our great state talking to real Minnesotans about how policies under your and President @realdonaldtrump’s leadership are benefiting our daily lives. #mngop pic.twitter.com/ZRf2XNPPRm
— MNGOP (@mngop) May 9, 2019
“Minnesotans are seeing and feeling the benefits due to the successes of the first two years under President Trump and Vice President Pence,” the GOP said. “Today, we are proud to welcome the vice president to Minnesota to talk about their plans for the coming years.”
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