Business in the Senate has ground to a halt. The impeachment trial of former President Trump has begun. This means that the Senate only handles the trial and nothing else for six days a week until they vote on whether or not to convict the President on the charge of Inciting an Insurrection, linked to the events of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol.
This also means the process of vetting nominees to various key positions has stopped. This includes USDA, EPA, and the United States Trade Representative. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley held a press conference with Ag media about his concerns on trade in the Biden Administration and the trial of Former President Trump.
President Biden has nominated Katherine Tai to be the next trade ambassador of the United States. Senator Grassley talked about his plan to talk with her directly on the phone about trade policy. He really wants to know Tai’s stance on continuing trade talks with China and starting a Phase 2 process. China has already reached out to President Biden about doing so. He also wants to know her thoughts on removing some of the 232 tariffs that were put in place by former President Trump and limiting the executive office’s power under that authority. He believes the Trump abused that power and would like it returned to Congress.
Senator Grassley also talked about needing to take down trade barriers that limit access to U.S. Ag products in the global market.
Grassley said he is interested in what is being called the “Biden Approach” to trade. The President is eager to first garner support from the Global Community to present a united front to approach the World Trade Organization with abuse of trade laws by China. The Senator says if they accomplish that, he would be willing to give the administration some leeway on the speed of their trade policy.
Grassley said his two main concerns moving forward are a Phase 2 trade agreement with China and getting an agreement with the United Kingdom.