This week, House Democrats issued their foregone conclusion. Their 300-page Intelligence Committee report indicts President Trump for asking the Ukrainian president to look into potential corruption on the part of Hunter Biden, who was being paid nearly $1 million a year by a Ukrainian gas company for “consulting” despite lacking any relevant experience.
This report is just the latest in Democrats’ impeachment push that is consuming Washington.
While House Democrats obsess over their quixotic impeachment quest, they ignore their responsibility to actually serve their constituents’ interests.
Exhibit A is their refusal to pass the USMCA trade agreement, which updates NAFTA for the internet and smartphone age. The agreement would massively benefit American small businesses, while also making environmental and labor union reforms. It is truly bipartisan. But Democrats don’t care. They’d rather salivate over impeachment than modernize the world’s most important trade agreement.
The USMCA would create 176,000 new jobs and increase GDP by $68 billion. These gains would disproportionately help small businesses. Of the 300,000 American companies that export, 98 percent are small businesses.
The trade agreement is the first to devote a section specifically to helping these job creators. It establishes a committee to educate small businesses about ways to leverage the agreement to reach new markets and expand their customer base. It calls on the signatories to consider the impact on small businesses when developing and implementing regulations. It cuts red tape and regulatory barriers for small businesses by promoting “good regulatory practices” that will expand trade. And it streamlines applications for paperwork like geographic indications and mandatory product descriptions by making them available online.
These steps will significantly reduce transaction costs that lead many small business owners to conclude that selling in Canada and Mexico simply isn’t worth the work.
Recognizing the new digital economy, the USMCA forbids duties on products distributed electronically. This would immediately open up new markets to any technology-focused small business. And it extends IP protections specifically to small businesses, which disproportionately rely on them to develop a better mousetrap.
The agreement terminates bureaucratic “local presence” requirements for cross-border trade that require American small businesses to open a foreign office to do business in these countries.
The USMCA roughly doubles the de minimis tax- and duty-free exemptions on Canadian and Mexican imports. This will help online businesses that sell into these countries. This will also be a boon to border town small businesses where Canadian and Mexican shoppers currently have to pretend their consumer goods weren’t purchased stateside to get them home duty-free. In 2018, President Trump highlighted the common case of Canadian shoppers having to wear — and even scruff up — their shoes purchased in the U.S. to try to avoid paying massive tariffs when they return.
To help American farmers, the agreement also demands that Canada relax its Soviet Union-style dairy cartels to allow for American imports.
The USMCA helps small businesses from every sector and every state. By ignoring their legislative responsibilities to pass it, Democrats are playing a dangerous game. According to new polling by Reuters/Ipsos, nearly two-thirds of independent voters believe that Congress should “focus on fixing important problems facing Americans, rather than focusing on investigating President Trump.” Putting partisan interests above the nation’s may backfire.