Reed wants vote for trade agreement, 9/11 victims
By: Jason Jordan The Spectator, March 20, 2019 2:15pm
WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) says he’s trying to build consensus in the House of Representatives around two key issues.
In a call with reporters on Tuesday, Reed detailed his work with the bi-partisan Problem Solvers’ Caucus to push legislation that would formalize a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, and another measure to fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The US, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) was agreed to in principle last year, but has not yet been held to a vote in the House, which must ratify all treaties and trade agreements before they take effect.
The congressman called the prospective deal a win for the region’s dairy farmers in particular, granting them expanded access to Canadian and Mexican markets.
Reed and the Problem Solvers’ Caucus that he Co-Chairs with N.J. Rep. Josh Gotheimer met last week with US Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer on the issue. In a joint statement with other caucus members, Reed said, “It’s time to go on record as to where we stand in regards to approving the agreement. I think we’re in a position to get Mexico and Canada to a position where they need to be, operating under a modernized agreement that allows manufacturers and farmers access to their marketplace in a fair and level exchange.”
Reed also believes that country of origin rules would further benefit manufacturers in America, as they demand a part of the supply chain for goods sold in the US be of native origin.
There is currently no timeline for the agreement to come to the floor, which the congressman said was the prerogative of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
“She will determine when this is voted on, but the message I hope she hears is that we need to do this sooner rather than later,” he said.
Additionally, Reed hopes that the House will bring the Dairy Margin Protection Act to the floor for a vote, establishing a pricing floor for dairy products through an insurance program. The program is currently slated to begin in July, which Reed and his colleagues hope to accelerate.
“To me this needs to be a 1-2 course of action,” he said.
The Problem Solvers’ Caucus also declared support for the “Never Forget the Heroes Act,” a measure to support the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, which faces cuts of 50 percent for current claims and a reduction of 70 percent for future claims — a result of legislation coming to its expiration.
According to Reed, the bill has not been subject of a floor vote due to leadership prioritizing other measures ahead of it. To go around the litany of delays, the caucus is recruiting co-sponsors under the recently negotiated consensus calendar rule. When 290 members sponsor a bill, it must be brought for a vote within 25 days.
“We care about remembering the legacy of the lost and the heroism of so many on that fateful day ... Therefore, it only makes sense we are using the 290 Rule for the first time, allowing priority consideration on the House floor as we develop the muscle memory to achieve bipartisan victories and pass fair laws to help people,” Reed said.
On Tuesday, 40 members of the caucus co-sponsored the bill.