Article had been edited to update correct vote.
The impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump could have a direct impact on Dickinson County farmers, Congressman Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, said Thursday morning.
In a phone press conference, the representative of Kansas’ First District said as the impeachment trial ties up the Senate it will delay passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement which is vital to Dickinson County farmers.
“As you know we have mountains of grain sitting all across this country,” he said. “I think of Dickinson County as a great wheat county. Canada and Mexico are our one and two partners for most of all the grains grown in Dickinson County.”
Marshall said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cleared the Senate calendar in January for the trial.
“For a lot of reasons they are unable to vote on the USMCA trade agreement until after they get the impeachment done,” he said. “They can’t vote.
“Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi is still going to play games with this. She is not going to turn the paperwork over to the Senate, delaying the impeachment trial even more on the Senate side,” Marshall said. “She is putting her personal vendetta ahead of the American people. I am tired of it.”
The U.S. House approved the trade agreement Thursday on a 385-41 bipartisan vote, sending it to the Senate for conformation.
He said the USMCA will also give Trump leverage to use with China.
“When we get China done, the president will have completed agreements with over 50 percent of our trade partners,” Marshall said.
Marshall cited agreements with Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Canada that had been made.
“With record numbers of bankruptcies throughout the state in agriculture, getting this done is going to give bank lenders confidence that farmers are going to be able to sell this winter’s wheat crop,” he said.
He said that if the North American Free Trade Agreement was not replaced, “it would be the end of Kansas agriculture.”
“It would disrupt our economy so much and many, many people would lose their farms,” he said.
The trade agreements will also increase manufacturing jobs in Kansas.
“When NFTA started, a lot of our manufacturing jobs moved to Mexico because of the labor costs. This new USMCA is going to raise the labor wages for many industries, particularly in the car industry. But that will have a trickle down effect,” Marshall said.
Environmental Protection Agency standards will also increase in Mexico.
“That is going to drive up the cost of doing something there as well.”
He said that during the manufacturing process, one part may cross the border multiple times.
“So often whether you are building a car, or a Kubota tractor or an airplane or jet in Wichita, during the assembly process part of it may be made in Mexico or Canada, assembled partially there, come up to the United States, we do something, send it back,” he said. “If we had a tax each time it crossed, it would be very inefficient and would drive up the cost as well. We are starting to see more manufacturing jobs starting to perk up here.”
Marshall, along with all the Republican party, voted against Trump’s charges of abuse of power, which passed 230-197, and against the obstruction allegation, which passed 229-198.
“President Trump is still the president and I’m sure glad of that. Yesterday was one of the most somber, heartfelt days of my life. I’m glad it’s done,” Marshall said. “I felt this started off literally minutes after the president was elected. They (Democrats) were going to find a process to impeach the president.”
He said he visited with Trump last week.
“He was very upbeat,” he said. “The Russia hoax is over with. We went to the Ukraine hoax. I think Americans can read the transcript themselves.”
He said there were no surprises with the impeachment vote. Two Democrats, Jefferson Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted against. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for President, voted as “present.”
“I’m ready to turn the page. We have to get on with it. The U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement will be voted on today. This is something that, once we got the Farm Bill, was my top priority.”
Marshall said he has been to Mexico negotiating on behalf of agriculture to reach an agreement.
Contact Tim Horan at editor@abi