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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 8:10 pm

Banks: Congress should reassert itself

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

AUBURN – U.S. Rep. Jim Banks said Wednesday that federal lawmakers should turn back the clock and exert their power over foreign trade.

Banks, R-3rd, told area farmers that Congress "needs to reimpose its constitutional authority when it comes to trade agreements and tariffs. That's where I'm at. That's what I'm advocating for. That's what I can do."

Banks met at Richards Restaurant in Auburn with about 20 people, many of whom identified themselves as corn, soybean, livestock or dairy producers.

Sarah Delbecq, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat in DeKalb County, said farmers are tired of waiting for a resolution to President Donald Trump's trade war with China, which placed tariffs on U.S. agriculture imports last summer.

"At some point, I feel like we're going to be so patient, this is just going to be normal," Delbecq said. "At what point is patience and hope not getting us anywhere?"

Wolf Lake dairy farmer John Metzger said, "We've just about had enough here."

After the meeting, Metzger said in an interview: "You can only take so much red ink. Tariffs are really hurting our exports."

Although the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate foreign trade, lawmakers have been ceding authority to the executive branch for decades.