Issue: Agriculture

Walorski: It’s Time to Vote on USMCA

Walorski: It’s Time to Vote on USMCA

Calls for Approval of Modernized U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement Without Delay

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today called for a vote in Congress to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) without delay. Walorski’s comments came during a Ways and Means Committee hearing at which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified about the modernized trade agreement and other trade-related matters.

“This agreement will go a long way to drive exports for farmers and manufacturers in Indiana’s 2nd District,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “It sets a strong standard for the great innovators that call the Hoosier state home. And it levels the playing field for workers to ensure that we don’t lose jobs to unfair labor practices abroad. With the steel and aluminum tariffs lifted on Mexico and Canada, I think it’s time for Congress to act. It’s time to vote on the USMCA.”

Video of Walorski’s comments at the Full Committee Hearing on the 2019 Trade Policy Agenda is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Discusses USMCA with President Trump

Walorski Discusses USMCA with President Trump

Joined House Republican Colleagues at White House for Meeting on U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after she and several House Republican colleagues met with President Trump at the White House to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement:

“A modernized trade agreement with Mexico and Canada will boost our economy, expand markets for Hoosier ag exports and made-in-America products, and ensure a level playing field for American workers. President Trump made clear he will be fully engaged in this process, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss the path forward for the USMCA. I look forward to working together to benefit American small businesses, farmers, workers, and families.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Members Defend Agriculture in EU Trade Agreement

House Members Defend Agriculture in EU Trade Agreement

Walorski Leads Bipartisan Letter to USTR Signed by 114 Members

WASHINGTON – Today, 114 House members led by Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in support of keeping agricultural products as a key negotiating objective in any proposed trade agreement with the European Union (EU). The European Commission has specifically excluded agricultural products in draft negotiations and Commission officials continually state their unwillingness to include agriculture in the negotiation process.

“As you know, agriculture is the source of a great number of trade barriers and irritants in the U.S.-EU trading relationship. Thus, an agreement with the EU that does not address trade in agriculture would be, in our eyes, unacceptable,” the members wrote. “We want to voice our strong support for the inclusion of agriculture in the upcoming discussions and to reiterate that an agreement that fails to include agricultural products would be deficient, significantly jeopardizing Congressional support.”

A signed copy of the letter is available here. The full text is below.

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

We write today to urge you to insist on the inclusion of agricultural products in upcoming trade negotiations with the European Union (EU). As you know, agriculture is the source of a great number of trade barriers and irritants in the U.S.-EU trading relationship. Thus, an agreement with the EU that does not address trade in agriculture would be, in our eyes, unacceptable.

The United States and EU share one of the largest trading relationships in the world, but there are many ways in which the two sides can further grow and improve this relationship. Nowhere is this more evident than in trade in agricultural products. Exports from hardworking American farmers and ranchers across the country face barriers to the EU market, including high tariffs, unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and protectionist policies on geographical indications that hurt American exports not only to the EU but also to countries all over the world.

We were encouraged to see that the negotiating objectives for the EU that your office released in January included specific objectives on agricultural goods. At the same time, we were deeply disappointed that the European Commission’s draft negotiating mandates specifically excluded agricultural products and that Commission officials continue to state publicly that they will not discuss agriculture in the negotiations.

We want to voice our strong support for the inclusion of agriculture in the upcoming discussions and to reiterate that an agreement that fails to include agricultural products would be deficient, significantly jeopardizing Congressional support.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski, Kind Urge Solution to Tariffs on Mexico, Canada

Walorski, Kind Urge Solution to Tariffs on Mexico, Canada

Bipartisan Letter to USTR Lighthizer Calls for Swift End to Steel and Aluminum Tariffs and Retaliation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) today called for a swift solution to the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada. Walorski and Kind were joined by 11 other members of the Ways and Means Committee in urging the U.S. Trade Representative, Amb. Robert Lighthizer, to prioritize lifting the tariffs and retaliation.

“American farmers, manufacturers, workers, and consumers will continue to be harmed, especially by the retaliatory measures, until an agreement is reached to lift the tariffs,” the members wrote. “[W]e urge you to put the highest priority on lifting the steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliation entirely as soon as possible.”

A signed copy of the letter can be found here. The full text is below.

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

We write today to urge you to reach a negotiated solution regarding the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada as soon as possible.

We note that on many occasions over the past year, Administration officials linked lifting the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada to the success of negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

However, despite the fact that President Trump recently signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the tariffs – and the retaliation from Mexico and Canada – remain in place. American farmers, manufacturers, workers, and consumers will continue to be harmed, especially by the retaliatory measures, until an agreement is reached to lift the tariffs.

We look forward to additional consultations with you as we continue to review all aspects of the USMCA. In the meantime, however, we urge you to put the highest priority on lifting the steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliation entirely as soon as possible, and certainly before congressional consideration.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes to Send Farm Bill to President’s Desk

Walorski Votes to Send Farm Bill to President’s Desk

Five-Year Farm Bill Provides Critical Protections and Long-Term Certainty to Hoosier Farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after voting for final passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act (H.R. 2), a five-year Farm Bill reauthorization:

“Family farmers are the backbone of America, and their hard work keeps safe, nutritious, and affordable food on our tables. This bipartisan Farm Bill strengthens critical protections for Hoosier farmers, promotes ag exports, and provides certainty so local farm operations can grow and thrive. It also takes steps to improve SNAP so those who fall on hard times can build a bridge out of poverty, and it strengthens the program by allowing the administration to rein in states that abuse the waiver process. While this legislation is not perfect, it will give farmers the long-term certainty they need and help give Hoosiers a better chance to live the American Dream.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski last year sent a letter to House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway outlining Hoosier priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill based on feedback she received from farmers in the 2nd District. Many of the priorities Walorski advocated were included in the final version of H.R. 2, which passed the House by a vote of 369 to 47. The legislation previously passed the Senate and how heads to the president’s desk for his signature.

  • Protect Crop Insurance: The Farm Bill preserves this crucial backstop for farmers and ranchers and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options.
  • Reduce Regulatory Hurdles: Unnecessary and duplicative bureaucratic rules put great burdens on farmers and ranchers. The Farm Bill streamlines regulations and reduces red tape.
  • Promote Agriculture Exports: Exports are as important as ever for Hoosier farmers at a time of low commodity prices and falling farm incomes. The Farm Bill authorizes funding for vital tools for trade promotion and market development. It also allows the Secretary of Agriculture to provide assistance to farmers affected by unfair foreign trade practices.
  • Support Voluntary Conservation Efforts: Indiana is a national leader in voluntary conservation programs, the Farm Bill will allow Hoosiers to continue to innovate and lead with tailored solutions to local issues. H.R. 2 folds the best features of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
  • Prepare for Disease Outbreaks: The Farm Bill continues to invest in and improve research, preparedness, mitigation, detection, and response to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), foot and mouth disease (FMD), and other diseases. It establishes the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, establishes a new U.S.-only vaccine bank, and enhances the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
  • Invest in Rural Broadband: Our lives are becoming increasingly digital, and farm operations are no different. Unfortunately, internet speeds in rural America greatly lag behind urban and suburban areas. The Farm Bill will help bridge this gap by investing in rural broadband and requiring USDA to establish forward-looking broadband standards.
  • Strengthen SNAP: Congresswoman Walorski worked to comprehensively examine SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, in the 114th Congress when she chaired the Nutrition Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. Dozens of hearings have shown that SNAP is a crucial part of the safety net, that the program works, and that there are improvements that can be made. The Farm Bill strengthens and streamlines SNAP to better help individuals build a bridge out of poverty.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on U.S.-Mexico Understanding on Trade

Walorski Statement on U.S.-Mexico Understanding on Trade

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after President Trump announced an understanding was reached in trade negotiations with Mexico:

“I just met with Hoosier corn and soybean farmers in Miami County, and they told me what I hear from farmers and manufacturers across northern Indiana: they need long-term certainty when it comes to trade. A stronger, modernized trade agreement among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is critical to building on our nation’s economic momentum and helping Hoosiers thrive.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step, and I am optimistic it will lead to an agreement that better meets the needs of our nation’s manufacturers, farmers, businesses, and workers. I hope Canada returns quickly to the negotiating table, and I look forward to reviewing the details of any final agreement.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski earlier today spoke with Hoosier corn and soybean farmers at a “Shop Talk” event in Macy, Ind., hosted by the Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance.

In April, she led a letter signed by 64 members of Congress urging President Trump to build on the economic momentum spurred by tax cuts by remaining in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and modernizing the trade pact for the 21st century.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Shares Hoosier Farmers’ Concerns at Hearing on Tariffs

Walorski Shares Hoosier Farmers’ Concerns at Hearing on Tariffs

Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Examines Impact of Tariffs on Agriculture

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today at a hearing of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee shared the concerns of Hoosier farmers who have seen negative effects from tariffs imposed by the United States and retaliation from foreign countries.

“A friend of mine named Harold Parker summed it up with one word: when asked about what’s happening right now with these tariffs in northern Indiana, he said the results are ‘terrible,’” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Another family farm in my district that grows 3,200 acres of corn and 3,000 acres of soybeans estimates that they’ve lost almost $700,000 in gross income since June 1st because of price drops in both.”

Walorski asked the panel of farmers and agriculture leaders to react to statements by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that American farmers can easily make up for lost market share if China turns to non-U.S. agricultural exports.

“One thing I have heard Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross repeatedly say is, essentially, well if China is buying more Brazilian soybeans, the U.S. can just sell to wherever Brazil isn’t selling anymore,” Walorski said. “Basically, he’s saying that U.S. agriculture can fill the void wherever Brazil and others are abandoning in order to sell to China or the EU. Is it really that simple?”

“It is not that simple,” said Michelle Erickson-Jones, co-owner of Gooseneck Land and Cattle and president of the Montana Grain Growers Association. “We do not want to give up and be a residual supplier to China. They are the biggest consumer of protein in the world. And they are also a huge opportunity for the wheat market, and that is not something that we want to give up and be a residual supplier.”

“As simplistic as it seems, these markets are not fungible by any means,” said Cass Gebbers, president and CEO of Gebbers Farms. “We would never want to forego the opportunity to sell to, say, the Chinese customer.”

Video of Walorski’s full remarks and the responses to her question is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes for 2018 Farm Bill

Walorski Votes for 2018 Farm Bill

Agriculture and Nutrition Act Protects Crop Insurance, Reduces Regulatory Burdens, Promotes Ag Exports, Strengthens SNAP

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today supported House passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R. 2), also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, which would provide long-term certainty for Hoosier farmers and strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“Farmers are the backbone of America, and we depend on them to keep safe, nutritious, and affordable food on our tables,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The Farm Bill boosts protections for our family farmers, promotes ag exports, and cuts red tape so local farm operations can grow and thrive. It also strengthens SNAP so people who fall on hard times have a better chance to build a bridge out of poverty and achieve the American Dream. This vital legislation builds on the positive impact tax cuts are having for farmers, businesses, workers, and families across Indiana. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to send final legislation to President Trump for his signature.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski last year sent a letter to House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway outlining Hoosier priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill based on feedback she received from farmers in the 2nd District. Many of the priorities Walorski advocated were included in H.R. 2, which passed the House by a vote of 213 to 211.

  • Protect Crop Insurance: The Agriculture and Nutrition Act preserves this crucial backstop for farmers and ranchers and strengthens the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options.
  • Reduce Regulatory Hurdles: Unnecessary and duplicative bureaucratic rules put great burdens on farmers and ranchers. The 2018 Farm Bill streamlines regulations and reduces red tape.
  • Promote Agriculture Exports: Exports are as important as ever for Hoosier farmers at a time of low commodity prices and falling farm incomes. This legislation authorizes funding for vital tools for trade promotion and market development. It also allows the Secretary of Agriculture to provide assistance to farmers affected by unfair foreign trade practices.
  • Support Voluntary Conservation Efforts: Indiana is a national leader in voluntary conservation programs, the Farm Bill will allow Hoosiers to continue to innovate and lead with tailored solutions to local issues. H.R. 2 folds the best features of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
  • Prepare for Disease Outbreaks: The Farm Bill continues to invest in and improve research, preparedness, mitigation, detection, and response to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), foot and mouth disease (FMD), and other diseases. It establishes the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, establishes a new U.S.-only vaccine bank, and enhances the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
  • Invest in Rural Broadband: Our lives are becoming increasingly digital, and farm operations are no different. Unfortunately, internet speeds in rural America greatly lag behind urban and suburban areas. The Agriculture and Nutrition Act will help bridge this gap by investing in rural broadband and requiring USDA to establish forward-looking broadband standards.
  • Strengthen SNAP: Congresswoman Walorski worked to comprehensively examine SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, in the 114th Congress when she chaired the Nutrition Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. Dozens of hearings have shown that SNAP is a crucial part of the safety net, that the program works, and that there are improvements that can be made. The Agriculture and Nutrition Act strengthens and streamlines SNAP and its Employment & Training (E&T) programs to better help individuals build a bridge out of poverty.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Urges President Trump to Remain in NAFTA, Modernize Agreement for 21st Century

Walorski Urges President Trump to Remain in NAFTA, Modernize Agreement for 21st Century

Republican Members of Congress Send Letter Reaffirming Economic Benefits of NAFTA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and dozens of her colleagues this week urged President Trump to build on the economic momentum spurred by tax cuts by remaining in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and modernizing the trade pact for the 21st century.

“The effort you have led to modernize the agreement for the 21st century is incredibly important and, in combination with the historic tax cuts that you signed last year, has the potential to unleash the American economy unlike any other time before,” wrote Walorski and 63 of her House colleagues in a letter to the president. “We can further improve economic opportunities for American consumers, workers, and job creators by remaining in NAFTA and modernizing the agreement. We look forward to working with you and your Administration to realize our shared goal of a modernized NAFTA that will foster even greater economic success for Americans as we continue to compete and win around the world.”

The letter, led by Walorski and Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), was signed by 64 Republican members of the House of Representatives.

A signed copy of the letter is available here, and the full text is below.

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We write today to reaffirm the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The effort you have led to modernize the agreement for the 21st century is incredibly important and, in combination with the historic tax cuts that you signed last year, has the potential to unleash the American economy unlike any other time before.

NAFTA provides the foundation for a strong North American economy that will allow us to compete – and win – against the rest of the world. Today, trade with Canada and Mexico stands at $1.3 trillion annually and supports 14 million jobs. Canada and Mexico are the biggest export destination for 37 states. Whether big or small, American manufacturers, farmers, and the services providers from across all sectors of our economy have benefited from NAFTA. For instance, from 1993 to 2016, agriculture exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion to $38.1 billion.

While NAFTA has benefited American workers and businesses, the agreement now is over two decades old, and there is a clear opportunity to improve the agreement and modernize its rules to better address our 21st century economy. Enhanced market access, reduced bureaucratic red tape, expanded energy exports, and updated rules on digital trade, intellectual property rights, and regulatory standards – all fully enforceable through binding dispute settlement – will create certainty for American business, new opportunities for more American jobs, and more benefits to consumers.

Mr. President, your economic stewardship has triggered positive momentum that has not been seen in years. The recent historic tax cuts that you signed into law have delivered significant raises, bonuses, and better benefits for workers, as well as new investments at home in equipment and facilities. We can further improve economic opportunities for American consumers, workers, and job creators by remaining in NAFTA and modernizing the agreement.

We look forward to working with you and your Administration to realize our shared goal of a modernized NAFTA that will foster even greater economic success for Americans as we continue to compete and win around the world.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Passes Bill to Rebuild Military, Invest in Infrastructure, Boost Opioid Response

House Passes Bill to Rebuild Military, Invest in Infrastructure, Boost Opioid Response

FY18 Funding Legislation Also Includes Walorski Provision to Reduce Costs and Red Tape for American Manufacturers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the House passed legislation to rebuild the military, give servicemembers a raise, invest in infrastructure, combat the opioid crisis, and help American manufacturers and farmers:

“After years of neglect, our Armed Forces are finally getting the resources necessary to begin rebuilding, boost military readiness, and defend our nation from any enemy. With this bill, we are delivering on our constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. And we are giving our troops the tools, training, and support they need – including their biggest pay raise in eight years.

“We are also making key investments in fighting the opioid epidemic, modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, securing our borders, making schools safer, and supporting American manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses. This is a critical step as we continue building on the economic momentum from pro-growth reforms and working toward commonsense solutions that help Hoosier families thrive.”

BACKGROUND

The House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 1625) by a vote of 256 to 167. The bill, which provides funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, now heads to the Senate.

National Defense: Supports rebuilding our Armed Forces by providing the largest increase in defense funding in 15 years, including resources to increase troop levels, boost military readiness, improve training, and invest in maintenance and new equipment. It also funds a 2.4 percent pay raise for our servicemembers – their biggest in eight years.

Veterans: Includes record funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including more resources for health care, addiction treatment, and facility improvements.

Opioids: Provides nearly $4 billion to help communities fight the opioid epidemic – the largest federal investment to date – including funding for treatment, prevention, and law enforcement.

Manufacturers: Cuts costs and red tape for American manufacturers, including in the RV industry, with a provision Walorski authored to fix a technical issue in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) tariff relief program, which is reauthorized for three years.

Farmers: Fixes the Section 199A “grain glitch,” a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure farmers get the same tax benefits when they sell to private companies as they would when selling to co-ops. Walorski recently signed a letter urging congressional leaders to quickly resolve the issue.

Infrastructure: Invests in building a modern infrastructure for the 21st century, including roads, bridges, public transit, airways, railways, waterways, energy, and broadband. Walorski led

Border Security: Boosts border security by funding $2.9 billion in security improvements and technology, including $1.57 billion to begin construction of the border wall.

School Safety: Protects students by implementing key provisions of the STOP School Violence Act, which the House passed last week, and providing more than $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health, training, and school safety programs. The bill also fixes and fully funds the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

Tax Cuts: Ensures the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the resources necessary to fully implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the historic tax reform law that cut taxes for Americans at all income levels and restored America’s economic competitiveness.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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