The U.S. Senate ratified the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement today, cementing a major new trade deal that’s been years in the making.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says this is a vital pact with our neighbors to the north and south and promises a tremendous boost for the Iowa economy. Iowa is the nation’s number-one pork producer, and in 2018, Canada and Mexico bought more than 40-percent of all U.S. pork exports. Iowa is also the country’s number-one egg producer and the USMCA will raise U.S. exports of poultry and eggs to Canada alone by $207 million dollars.

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The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a revised North American trade pact in a rare bipartisan vote today that hands President Trump a victory on a key campaign promise. It has happened just as lawmakers are preparing his impeachment trial.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, passed by a vote of 89-10. The trade pact, signed by the president in November 2018, received a similar bipartisan vote in the House last month.

The USMCA is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, negotiated in the 1990s.

Siouxland Public Media

Democratic candidate for President and U.S. Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand made a campaign stop in Sioux City August 7, 2019.  

She’s spending five-days crossing the state in an RV and dropped by the Key Club to meet with supporters and those still undecided.

“Your caucus goers are really well informed and they turn up. Several people here I have met several times.  They are getting to know the candidates one by one. I think if I get a chance to meet all the caucus goers one-by-one I can break through and win.”

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Many Iowa farmers are finding out how much money they’ll get from the federal government’s second round of payments, to help them weather ongoing trade disputes. 

Unlike last year, row-crop farmers will get payments based on their county, not the specific crop they planted. 

County rates are calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture depending on how large of an area was lost due to reduced exports.  The payments range from 15 to 150 dollars per acre. 

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will make two stops in Northwest Iowa when he returns to campaign in the Hawkeye state.

Biden, a former vice president, will attend a multi-candidate forum in Des Moines on Monday, and his campaign has slated other stops, including Sioux City and Le Mars on Tuesday.

Iowa officials have reported the state's first confirmed human case of West Nile virus.

The Iowa Public Health Department says the man lives in Audubon County, is 61 to 80 years old and has recovered.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning in Iowa today in his bid to take on President Trump in the 2020 election. Some other Democrats criticized Biden over the weekend for missing an event in Cedar Rapids attended by 19 candidates.

At his first campaign stop in Ottumwa, Biden said he didn’t want to miss his daughter’s birthday and granddaughter’s graduation.

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The Trump administration reached agreements with Canada and Mexico to lift tariffs on metals imported from those countries.  The deal resolves a yearlong standoff that inflamed North Atlantic tensions and complicated efforts to ratify a revised trade deal.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst praised the deal.  Ernst issued a statement saying the deal was huge news for Iowa, especially the state’s farmers and manufacturers.   

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Republican Governor Kim Reynolds may soon face a lawsuit over a provision she signed into law.  It would restrict publicly-funded health insurance from covering surgeries for transgender Iowans. If she approves a bill that restricts the attorney general’s authority, a lawsuit will likely follow that, too. 

Several new laws in recent years have faced court challenges, and some have been struck down.

Asked why this seems to be happening a lot, Reynolds says it’s part of the process.

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Randy Feenstra, one of the three fellow Republicans trying to oust U.S. Rep. Steve King, brought in four times more campaign cash than the congressman over the first three months of the 2019-20 election cycle.

King's campaign organization reported he raised a little more than 61 thousand dollars for the first quarter, which trailed the $260 thousand raised by Feenstra, a state senator from Hull, Iowa.  Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to China, donated to Feenstra’s campaign.

Wessels Living History Farm

Even though I must have been through the place a thousand times, I didn't even know it was a place--James, Iowa, just up the road from Leeds. From up above on Google Earth, James, looks more like a camp ground than a suburb; but right there on highway 75, it sits peacefully alongside the meandering Floyd, far southern Plymouth County. 

Truth is, this story has little to do with James, Iowa. The town merits mention only as a setting, as in, "this whole business went down right here in James, Iowa." Nobody in James had a thing to do with it.