Sheldon, Iowa — This area’s Congressman, Steve King was in Sheldon on Monday. We had a chance to catch up with him.
He tells us the purpose of the trip.
Among the topics discussed at the meeting was ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard. King says the President signed an agreement in September to blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol. But he says when the rule was published, it was too vague. He says some have pushed for a new rule, but he says that’s hard to do.
He says he’s going to finish that up and double-check the language, ask others to sign on and have the President sign it.
Another area that farmers are concerned about is trade.
King says with the UK exiting the EU, it would be a good idea for both the US and the UK to enter into a trade agreement with each other. He says it may open up European markets for the US.
King says he believes part of the reason we haven’t seen the effect we expected from the US-China agreement is that China’s economy is experiencing a slowdown due to the Coronavirus. Meanwhile, he says we need to remain vigilant to keep Chinese pork out of the US, due to African Swine Fever, which he says has decimated a large part, possibly a majority of the hogs in that nation. He told us about one instance of an attempt to smuggle Chinese pork into the US that he saw with his own eyes.
King was asked what could be done about the shortage of workers in the dairy industry, and if there could be a change in visa policy. King’s suggestion is that those who come into the country on a temporary visa should have to put up a bond. He said it would work similarly to when you swipe your card at the beginning of a hotel stay. They keep your number on file in case they need it. The same would apply here — the account wouldn’t be charged unless you overstay your visa — then the money would be put into a fund to assist law enforcement to find those that have overstayed their visas.
He also mentioned that before we have major immigration reform, he thinks we need to close the border. Also, King says that there are millions of people in the US who are able-bodied, but who are not working. He says these people could fill the open positions at the dairy farms and elsewhere.
King also mentioned that he believes the health insurance business needs to be regulated not from the federal level, but from the state level. He says he hopes that the Supreme Court will rule that the last remnants of ObamaCare are unconstitutional.