Iowa US Senator Joni Ernst (R)

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.

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Iowa US Senator Joni Ernst is applauding the airstrike on Iran that killed its top general. 

Iran has vowed, “harsh retaliation” for the attack.

But the republican Senator Ernst, who is a retired member of the Iowa National Guard, spoke out on Twitter about the situation.  She said, “America and our world is safer (because of Soleimani’s death).” 

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Iowa’s junior Senator is applauding the airstrike on Iran that killed its top general. 

Iran has vowed, “harsh retaliation” for the attack.

But Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a retired member of the Iowa National Guard, spoke out on Twitter about the situation.  She said, “America and our world is safer (because of Soleimani’s death).” 

Associated Press

An election watchdog is filing a complaint alleging than an outside group founded by top political aides to Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst violated campaign finance law in its efforts improve the Republican's chance of reelection next year.  

It comes after The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Ernst's work with the political nonprofit Iowa Values to raise money and build an electoral “firewall" potentially violated campaign finance and tax law. 

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Iowa politicians, commodity groups and Iowa’s business community are celebrating news of a deal that will lead to U.S. House ratification of a new trade agreement to replace NAFTA. Canada and Mexico are Iowa’s two largest trade markets.

Associated Press

'Dark money' ties raise questions for GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa

Documents obtained by The Associated Press reveal an outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst is working closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects.

Some legal experts say the degree of overlap between her campaign and the nonprofit Iowa Values could violate the law.

Emails show Ernst fundraiser Claire Holloway Avella asked a donor for $50,000 for the group following an introduction by the senator.  

This week on The Exchange, 

Presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg meets with potential caucus-goers in Siouxland.  We have a report.

Also, some of the Democratic candidates who are vying for an opportunity to oust US Senator Joni Ernst next year say they feel the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump should go forward.

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The House hearings on the impeachment inquiry wrapped up this afternoon.  Several witnesses came forward and claimed President Donald Trump had asked Ukraine for help looking into the activities of former Vice President and now Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son in exchange for military aid. 

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The Iowa Supreme Court says it will take an appeal of an Iowa attorney who challenged a 2017 flight Gov. Kim Reynolds and her family took.  That flight was on a private jet to a football game in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gary Dickey filed a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board in September 2018, alleging the $2,880 claimed for four seats on the jet in campaign documents underestimated the flight's value.

The board dismissed his complaint, saying the estimate was reasonable.

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