Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, representing a state in the geographic center of the nation, never doubts its global reach.
Between aircraft-related products, beef, wheat and other agricultural and manufactured goods, Kansas has export values that amount to about $4,000 for every man, woman and child living in the state.
“What we produce, what we manufacture and what we grow in the fields of our state in many, many instances end up someplace else outside the United States,” the Republican lawmaker said on the Senate floor this week.
Moran and others in Congress have grown increasingly impatient with the inaction in ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the trade pact signed by the leaders of those three nations in November 2018.
It would replace the North America Free Trade Agreement, now 25 years old.
The stakes remain high for most states, and Missouri and Kansas provide examples.
In 2018, Missouri exported $14.5 billion in goods, including trucks, motorcycles, refined metals, veterinary vaccines and numerous agricultural products. The purchases made in Canada and Mexico were about 56 percent of that amount.
Kansas, during that same year, sold about $11.6 billion to other nations. Its sales to Mexico and Canada came to about 35 percent of the total.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, told News-Press NOW this week that his message to leaders of the Democrat-led U.S. House would be directed to just one person.
“It’s only one leader that matters, and that’s Speaker Pelosi,” he said, “and my message is, ‘Get it done.’”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat, has yet to bring the treaty to the floor for a vote. Two weeks ago, she and Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, issued a joint statement about the pact.
“We can reach an agreement on USMCA when the (U.S.) Trade Representative makes the new NAFTA agreement enforceable for America’s workers,” they said.
Republicans like Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt have a different view, making specific reference to congressional work that needs to get done before the year’s end.
“Now’s the time when the real work needs to be done, the trade bill, the appropriating bill, keeping the government functioning,” he said this week.
“The speaker said they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Well, not sure if they’re walking or chewing gum, but they’re only doing one thing and that one thing looks like it’s heading toward an almost totally partisan impeachment vote.”
Hawley said he believed the House would approve USMCA if brought before the full House for a vote. He thinks a significant number of Democrats would support the ratification.
“This is a good deal for us. It’s a good deal for workers in our state. It’s a good deal for manufacturers in our state. It’s a good deal for labor,” the senator said. “I urge the speaker to put this on the floor and vote. She’s the holdup. It’s her and her alone. If it gets put on the floor, it will pass in the House.”