If there’s one lesson I’ve learned since being sent to represent the people of Northeast Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives, it’s that Washington is often filled with excuses.
But there are no more excuses left when it comes to passing the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
Better known as USMCA, this new bipartisan agreement replaces the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, and will set the stage for greater economic growth across America, especially in Ohio.
USMCA is estimated to bring over $68 billion in new economic activity and 176,000 new jobs here in the U.S. That includes 76,000 new American automotive sector jobs to contribute to the $34 billion we expect in new auto manufacturing plants.
Furthermore, Canada and Mexico are the first and third largest markets for U.S. food and agricultural exports. These exports support more than 325,000 American jobs, 11,230 of which are in Ohio. Under USMCA, U.S. agricultural exports alone are expected to increase by more than $2 billion annually, helping to build on those jobs that are already reliant on our nation’s exports to Mexico and Canada.
The fact of the matter is that this deal not only brings our trade policies into the modern age, it puts the American worker first — especially those who have been impacted by bad trade policies of the past that have outsourced jobs and opportunity abroad.
Sadly, for over a year, this bipartisan opportunity to make America stronger fell victim to political games in Washington.
It has been nearly 13 months since President Trump sat on the world stage and signed an agreement with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to revolutionize the way we do business with our top trading partners.
A vote on this critical agreement has been delayed ever since.
The bottom line is that the USMCA will grow the U.S. economy, keep American jobs here at home, and bring our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico into the 21st Century. Each day that goes by without a vote on USMCA, Ohio’s farmers, ranchers and manufacturers continue to operate without certainty.
There are no more excuses.
That’s why, earlier this month, I joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi calling on her to spend the few legislative days we have left this year to work across the aisle on issues where consensus can easily be found, like USMCA. Now more than ever, we must work on behalf of our constituents to support polices that unite our great nation, not divide it.
Thankfully, shortly after receiving our letter, the Speaker announced that USMCA is ready to be ratified by Congress.
Finding common ground takes hard work, but important deals like USMCA cannot cross the finish line with finger-pointing or partisan politics. As the year comes to a close, I urge my colleagues in Congress to put aside politics, abandon their excuses and vote yes on USMCA to help us set the stage for greater economic growth across the country.
The legacy of the American worker depends on it.
U.S. REP. DAVE JOYCE (R-Bainbridge Township) represents Ohio’s 14th District, which includes Ashtabula County.