Guest Commentary

Amid the Trump impeachment circus, Kansas farmers cashed in with new Japan trade deal

This Wednesday, I had the honor of being the only member of Congress invited to join the president and his top Cabinet officials in New York City for the signing of a brand new trade deal.

A deal that means billions of dollars in new trade for Kansas and American agriculture producers.

But you probably didn’t hear about that.

Because that was the morning after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a preemptive “impeachment investigation” into President Donald Trump — a move that has paralyzed any constructive work on Capitol Hill, and will ultimately end in nothing being done.

Democratic leaders in Congress are running a total and complete circus.

Perhaps there is no better microcosm of exactly what is wrong in D.C. than Wednesday. Administration officials made significant, historic trade progress for our farmers, ranchers, ethanol producers and more. And as this agreement was being signed and our national security officials met with allies and heard from our enemies, the national media and self-proclaimed socialists in Congress couldn’t be bothered to care.

Instead, they were getting more free airtime than they ever have, and were launching fundraising efforts for their presidential campaigns — all while dancing on the grave of productivity for Americans.

Just how historic is this trade deal with Japan? Japan is our No. 1 export market for beef, pork and wheat. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy. And this deal levels the playing field for tariffs with Japan and other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.

The speed at which his agreement was struck is a testimony to the level of commitment this president and the U.S. trade representative have to American farmers and ranchers, as well as Japan’s willingness to do a fair and reciprocal trade deal.

This will be a template for other bilateral agreements as well, the first domino to fall of many others, we hope.

We have many pressing matters that face us, problems that are quite solvable. While we made huge strides in trade, we have another signed agreement, USMCA, which only needs congressional approval. Yet, as the president told me, Pelosi can’t seem to find the time to take it up.

Farm bankruptcies are at an all-time high, and Pelosi has decided to sleep on the fix while she directs made-for-cable-TV theatrics. Meanwhile, Kansans are being held hostage.

And this drama is a sequel. I don’t need to remind you of the two years of innuendo and lies that resulted in a nothing-burger over the president’s so-called “collusion” with Russia. You don’t hear about that much anymore — they have a new topic, with still no evidence.

In this case, in fact, there is documented evidence to the exact contrary.

Kansans can see through this. Even Kansans who don’t support the president know this is beyond the pale. Kansans of all stripes still want Congress to act on the issues that matter to them. They want action on trade, infrastructure, securing the southern border, and fixing our broken immigration system. Kansans know this is a cheap distraction.

Sadly, the list of Democrats supporting this latest witch hunt continues to grow.

I want Kansans to know that many of us in Congress will still be working to advance the causes important to our state. It is clearer now than ever that our delegation in the House and Senate need to stand stronger against this type of obstruction. I will continue to look for ways to do that, while also working with any member of any party willing to put aside petty politics and champion the causes worth our time and investment.

When opportunities and achievements happen such as that which happened on Wednesday with Japan, I hope we all recognize the real successes, and look to create more of them. Because, at the end of the day, that is what matters and what is lasting — not a circus of hatred directed at President Trump.

Roger Marshall is Kansas’ 1st District representative in Congress.