CEDAR RAPIDS — Over dinner on Air Force Two, U.S. Rep. Rod Blum said he told Vice President Mike Pence that Iowa farmers and manufacturers “need some good news” on trade policy.
“Oh, my gosh, if only you could have heard the conversation,” Blum said about his dinner with Pence after the vice president spoke in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday.
“I bent his ear about that a lot — about how farmers and ag disproportionately feel the retaliation from other countries,” the Dubuque Republican said.
“Iowa manufacturers and other businesses, as well as farmers, are concerned about the impact President Donald Trump’s tariffs on goods from China and other nations will have on markets,” he said. “Farm commodity prices are down by 50 to 60 percent from 5 years ago, so we need more trade, not less.”
Blum said he told Pence he believes farmers and others “all hope that the president can get these deals done and they end up being better deals for America.”
Iowans feel like they are fighting a lot of battles on the trade front, and Blum said he and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds “tried to impress upon the vice president that we need a win here.”
“We need some good news — soon — on a trade deal, whether it’s Mexico or Canada or NAFTA,” he said. “Whatever it is, we need some good news.”
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Blum, who earlier in the week said he thought the president was “posturing” to get better deals with trade partners, thinks Iowans are with the president — for now.
“But the longer this goes on, then we all, including me, people will start to question this,” he predicted.
Blum also told Pence there were no tears shed in the agricultural community when Scott Pruitt resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We were battling him on a lot of things, and it seemed he kind of had a war on renewable fuels,” Blum said. “I asked the vice president very respectfully that when Pruitt is replaced we get someone who is not anti-renewable fuels.”
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