- - Thursday, October 3, 2019

American workers, farmers and ranchers need a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Thankfully, President Donald Trump and his team have negotiated a much better deal than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

So why have the members of the U.S. House of Representatives not taken a vote on this new trade agreement called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)? The answer is simple: Politics.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her House Democrats do not want to give a political win to President Trump. I was told that all of the governors attending a meeting of the National Governors Association earlier this year agreed to sign a letter of support for the new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Then, Mrs. Pelosi asked the Democrat governors to pull their names from the letter. Pathetic.

It will only get worse in the coming days of the impeachment process. Instead of focusing on doing the will of the people — as so many new House members promised their constituents last fall — the halls of Congress will be filled with the bitter battle of a partisan impeachment process.

Let us face it: Liberals have been ready to impeach President Trump since Day One. Reps. Al Green and Brad Sherman initiated formal efforts to impeach the president during his first year in office.

Back in January, first-term Rep. Rashida Tlaib told activists, “We’re going to impeach the mother f—er.” Showing just how seriously she takes the process, Ms. Tlaib’s campaign is now selling “Impeach the mf!” T-shirts for $29.

Mrs. Pelosi and other House Democrats didn’t even wait to read what was in the actual transcript of the phone call. She actually announced that they were moving forward with impeachment proceedings on the same day that the president spoke to the United Nations. Washington is filled with partisanship.

This is why reasonable people who support a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada must continue to draw attention to the issue. The year-long delay is having a dramatic impact on real people.

For example, a new trade deal is a big deal for farmers in states like mine. Two years ago, about 75 dairy farmers received letters from a milk processing company called Grassland Dairy Products. They were told that as of May 1, 2017, Grassland would no longer buy and process milk from their farms.

For years, farmers in Wisconsin and in other parts of the United States provided ultra-filtered milk for the Canadian markets. Eventually, the government-imposed price controls on ultra-filtered milk forced Grassland to let their American dairy farmers go.

Around the same time this was unfolding, I met with Mr. Trump during a stop at Snap-On Tools in Wisconsin. After hearing the plight of our farmers, he immediately lashed out at Canada and called NAFTA a “disaster.” To his credit, he held out on the trade deal with Mexico and Canada to get a better deal for American dairy farmers.

When the USMCA was announced over a year ago, dairy farmers saw much-needed relief. The president is a man of his word.

Now, we need the members of the House to keep their end of the bargain and vote on the new trade deal. And they need to do it before the end of the year.

Ironically, Mr. Trump and many Democrats complained for years that NAFTA was a horrible deal for American workers. So now that Democrats have a chance to correct many of the problems in the old trade deal, they need to muster the political courage to actually hold a vote.

Plenty of Democratic House members say that they want a new trade deal. But if they don’t start putting pressure on Mrs. Pelosi, the measure will not come up for a vote. Ironically, failing to act on the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is effectively a vote to keep NAFTA.

There is, however, one more option: The president could bypass Congress and implement most parts of the deal with executive action.

Bryan Riley of the National Taxpayers Union authored a document this week suggesting that Mr. Trump could actually “implement an improved version of USMCA on its own.”

The Trump administration took similar action on trade with South Korea and on a limited deal with Japan. Interestingly, a majority of the items in the trade deal negotiated with Mexico and Canada do not require congressional approval.

Mr. Riley continues, “President Trump should consider dropping the burdensome regulations included in the agreement in order to clear the path for the implementation of an improved USMCA without the need for additional congressional action.”

Bottom line: A new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is incredibly important for American workers, farmers and ranchers. People all across this country want our leaders to do the right thing and approve this trade deal before the end of the year.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.

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