LaHood promotes USMCA benefits, focuses on economy under President Trump

Illinois Capitol News

PEORIA, Ill. (WCIA) — During an interview on Capitol Connection, Republican Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) promoted what he sees as benefits in the pending United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and praised President Trump’s ongoing trade war with China.

The USMCA “is going to help more products to be produced in America, and less in Mexico and Canada, and that’s good for our country,” LaHood said, adding that provisions in the trade agreement can be particularly beneficial for American dairy farmers because it “frees up those tariffs.”

The USMCA would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which is the current trade agreement between the three countries.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raised a number of issues she has with the USMCA in talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, including concerns that the deal didn’t do enough to lower the cost of prescription drug prices in America.

“What I don’t want to have happen,” LaHood said, “is because politics and partisanship come into this, that the Congress doesn’t want to give the President a perceived win on this.”

He suggested that, “If there are serious concerns about prescription drugs or the cost of those, I think those can be addressed in a side agreement.”

LaHood and other Republicans on Capitol Hill have cast the USMCA as a road map or template for other trade talks around the globe. Despite concerns from the agricultural community about vanishing markets, LaHood argued the President’s punishing conflict with Beijing is worth short-term pain for long term gain.

“China continues to rip us off,” LaHood said. “They’ve been doing that for 25 years with technology. But they’ve also been doing the same thing to our European allies, the Japanese, the Koreans. I think we ought to be partnering with our allies to go after the Chinese to hold them accountable.

“Unfortunately, we’re in this trade war now. I know that hurts our farmers. That hurts our manufacturing. But most of my farmers are Americans first, farmers second. They want to beat China. They want to make sure that we’re holding them accountable, and that they don’t continue to rip us off.”

LaHood also said a Republican primary challenge, even against a sitting president, can be “healthy” and can serve to “make any candidate a better candidate.”

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