The Crush - August 2019 - 5


CA Congressional Dems Urge Vote on USMCA
Fourteen House Democrats - including four from California -
sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on July 26 urging a
vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the end of the
year. Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) was one of the leaders of
the effort, and House colleagues Josh Harder (D-Turlock), J. Luis
Correa (D-Santa Ana) and TJ Cox (D-Fresno) were among the
California signees.
The letter stated, in part: "We are optimistic that the remaining
gaps can be bridged if all parties engage with good faith
and pragmatism. We are proud that our caucus has shown a
commitment to this approach. We write in support of continued
negotiations through the upcoming recess, to ensure a vote on
a bipartisan agreement by the end of the year. It is imperative
that we reach a negotiated agreement early in the fall. Canada
and Mexico are by far our most important trading partners, and
we need to restore certainty in these critical relationships that
support millions of American jobs."
Negotiations on changes to the deal continue. A House
Democrats' trade working group met with U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer on July 26 - their
fourth meeting. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman
Richard Neal released a statement following the meeting, which
concluded, "Democrats have clearly explained the needed
improvements to the renegotiated NAFTA as it stands. Now,
it is time for the administration to respond to our proposals.
We remain committed to working diligently with Ambassador
Lighthizer on this agreement. The timeline for consideration of
the revised deal depends on the administration's willingness
to negotiate with us in good faith to address House Democrats'

The U.S. Department of Labor on July 30 signed a bilateral
cooperative agreement with Guatemala to facilitate increased
transparency, accountability and worker safety in the H-2A
nonimmigrant visa program for temporary ag workers from
Guatemala. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded the
agreement. "This move by the United States and Guatemala
will allow for greater cooperation and will safeguard against
disturbances in the H-2A visa program by protecting workers
from illegal recruitment activity, providing our farmers with a
stable, legal workforce," he said.

Prior to the August recess, the
trade working group submitted
to Pelosi a progress report
that included the group's
concerns and proposals. Neal
told reporters he plans to be
in contact with Lighthizer
throughout the August recess
and will hold teleconferences
with other House Democrats
to speed up the negotiating
process. Staff level talks
between the working group and USTR will also continue
throughout the August recess. Meanwhile, the chairman of the
Ways and Means subcommittee on trade said members of the
House USMCA working group have agreed to reconvene talks
with Lighthizer immediately after the recess.
The full Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on July 30
with witnesses from several industries, including agriculture.
Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in his opening
remarks, "I urge House Democrats and Ambassador Lighthizer
to focus on their specific concerns and to propose solutions in
short order, so that we can pass USMCA. Doing so will provide
much-needed certainty to American workers, businesses,
farmers, ranchers and families, and will enhance the credibility of
our ambitious global trade agenda." He called for congressional
action when lawmakers come back from recess in September,
stressing that "every day that passes is another day that USMCA
benefits go unrealized."
Cornerstone Government Affairs contributed to this report.

After serving eight terms in Congress, Rep. Mike Conaway
(R-Texas) announced on July 31 that he will not seek re-election
in 2020. He is currently the ranking member of the House Ag
Committee and was considered the leading Republican on
the committee for three terms. While chair of the committee,
Conaway was instrumental in crafting and passing the 2018
farm bill.

AUGUST 2019 / 5

The Crush - August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush - August 2019

The Crush - August 2019 - 1
The Crush - August 2019 - 2
The Crush - August 2019 - 3
The Crush - August 2019 - 4
The Crush - August 2019 - 5
The Crush - August 2019 - 6
The Crush - August 2019 - 7
The Crush - August 2019 - 8
The Crush - August 2019 - 9