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Third District Representative in the U.S. House Cindy Axne met with about a dozen constituents in Mount Ayr Saturday, November 23.
Axne was asked why progress wasn’t being made on the USMCA (the trade agreement among the U.S., Mexico, and Canada).
Polly Hartsook told Axne her farming operation was being harmed by the lack of action.
“We’ve been losing market share and pricing opportunity,” she said. “There’s a real sense of urgency.”
Agreeing that action needs to come soon, Axne summarized her efforts to move to an agreement, including meetings with President Trump and the Mexican ambassador.
Axne added a trade war with China and the loss of the Renewable Fuel Standard are adding to the pressures in the agricultural sector.
Hartsook asked Axne if a July 25 phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine has already led to impeachment hearings, why can’t action on USMCA happen as quickly.
Axne replied impeachment hearings are within the confines of Congressional control whereas the trade negotiations require agreement among three countries, organized labor, pharmaceuticals, and Republican and Democratic administrations.
Axne admitted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the bill might not get done before the end of this year’s House session, but Axne hoped at minimum the biodiesel tax extenders would pass before adjournment. She vowed USMCA will get passed at some point.
Paul Dykstra said the impeachment hearings are drawing attention away from other more important work of the Congress. Comparing USMCA to the Affordable Care Act, he said he felt USMCA could pass if it would simply brought to a vote on the floor of the House.
Axne disagreed, stating that members from both sides of the aisle would vote against it for differing reasons. She said it was the Speaker’s responsibility to make sure the votes are there for passage before bringing it to a vote.
As far as impeachment is concerned, Axne was adamant in her response.
“What I’m for is doing the hard work for the people in this district,” she said. “I didn’t run for this seat to impeach the president… Go back and check my 18 months of running for this office. There’s nothing in there about that.”
Another question dealt with devastating flooding along the Missouri River.
Axne said much of the problem concerned mismanagement of the infrastructure within the flood plain as well as extraordinary storms attributable to climate change.
James Saville got the final word in the discussion.
“Let’s just say ‘here’s all the bills we need to get done,’” he said. “Let’s not spend millions and millions more dollars screwing around with the system… If we’re going to get something done as Americans, we got to get off our butts and get stuff done!”