MN01 Jim Hagedorn is silent as Trump’s MBAGA opens markets for imports

There is one thing that Americans can count from Donald Trump … whatever he says one day, can be changed the next.

After all, candidate Trump promised that Mexico would pay for a border wall while he rebuilt the military …. now, not only is Mexico not paying for the wall, but earlier this month, $3.8 billion in critical defense funds that Congress authorized, was being raided to build a border wall.

No, I am not repeating “old news”. Yep, you probably heard in September, that the Trump Administration announced plans to take $3.6 billion from 127 military projects. But now, a February announcement by President Trump revoked the following critical military funds to build his border wall:

  • -$1.501 billion from National Guard and Reserve equipment, including the entirety of FY20 National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account funding (trucks, generators, spare parts, radios, other gear);
  • -$379 million from F-35 aircraft program;
  • -$155 million from V-22 aircraft program ;
  • -$180 million from P-8 aircraft program ;
  • -$160 million from MQ-9 aircraft program
  • -$365 million from C-130J aircraft program;
  • -$180 million from Air Force Light Attack aircraft program;
  • -$911 million from shipbuilding (LHA and Expeditionary Fast Transport);

So much for rebuilding the military …

But that isn’t the only “say one thing and reverse” example that should disappoint voters … it’s his MBAGA program — Make Brazil Agriculture Great Again.

You might remember in December when President Trump complained that Brazil was manipulating (aka a massive devaluation of) their currencies, “which is not good for our farmers,” and he wanted tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil.

So far, there has been no follow-up announcement from the Trump Administration and the threats have not materialized. And after a phone call with President Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he had been assured they would not happen.

OK … so Trump’s on-again, off-again rant on tariffs to protect farmers did not happen, but last week, the Trump Administration took action to actually help the Brazilian export beef to America.

That’s right, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lifted the suspension of the importation of raw Brazilian beef products into the United States. You may remember the 2017 reports that Brazil was exporting rotten beef and attempting to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products, causing Congress to urge the USDA to implement a ban on Brazilian fresh beef imports.

From May 15 to June 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service determined that “over 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef product has been rejected due to ‘public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues.’”

This hits home in Minnesota where the cattle industry has roughly a $2 billion economic impact (Jan. 1, 2018, Minnesota had 2.35 million cattle) … but THANKS to the Trump Administration, they will have more competition.

And it will surely impact Minnesota’s First District which Congressman Jim Hagedorn likes to proclaim his “deep appreciation for agriculture and all it does for our rural communities. Our ag-based economy is so critically important to our nation and, of course, the state of Minnesota and Minnesota’s First District. Minnesota’s First District is one of the top crop and livestock districts in all the country.”

Gosh if its “critically important”, don’t ya think that Congressman Hagedorn would be issuing statements objecting to this expansion of imported beef … other Members have raised concerns that this is putting American families at risk by allowing Brazil to export “rotten beef into American grocery stores and covering it up with cancer-causing chemicals”

Nah, Congressman Hagedorn has not said a word … instead he is still promoting the potential US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. For those that thought this is a done deal, please realize that Canada is just starting its review process … and they have some interest groups complaining and some pushing for its passage. One of the groups pushing for passage is the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association which realizes that its ranchers like exports since on average that each Canadian animal is worth over $600 CDN more than in comparison to domestic market sales. Another group happy with the deal is the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) which recognizes that well over 70 percent of the industry’s output is exported. Why are they so happy … because the US did not require country-of-origin labeling to be included the trade agreement. So, you cannot look at a package of beef and see if it was from Brazil, Canada or the good old USA. Thanks, President Trump !

Note : Another Canadian group that is happy with the proposal is the sugar producers as the USMCA will allow more access for Canadian sugar while Minnesota’s wheat will not be selling their grain in Canada at a fair market price as it has been reduced to feed status. Funny that Congressman Hagedorn doesn’t mention those aspects of what appears upon closer review a trade deal that isn’t going to deliver that much more for Minnesota families (except for higher vehicle costs.)

While Trump is opening the flood gates for more Brazil beef, he has also used the Market Facilitation Program (which he advertised would help farmers impacted by his trade policies), to send money to a Brazilian owned company.

Funny, how Congressman Hagedorn hasn’t discussed the House hearing with the USDA’s Inspector General and her review of the Market Facilitation Program during which Members lamented that $67 million in market facilitation funds went to Brazilian meat conglomerate JBS, while less than $43 million went to all dairy farmers combined. 

It isn’t like Brazil needs our help … just recently, the USDA forecasted Brazilian soybean production at more than 4.5 billion bushels, which would move Brazil past the U.S. as the world’s largest producer … and China has been a big buyer of Brazilian-grown soybens.

Yep, soon our airwaves will be filed with campaign commercials spouting the successes of Donald J. Trump and Jim Hagedorn, but there won’t be a mention of how Great they are making Brazil’s Agriculture.

President Donald Trump meets with Brazil’s President Jair Messias Bolsonaro