2020 is off to a strong start
for rural Missouri, thanks to several big things the Trump administration and
the Republican-led Senate have gotten done together. With two new trade deals,
significant regulatory reform, and major investments in broadband, rural
communities are well-positioned to take advantage of the great economic
Because of our
agriculture-driven economy, Missouri is one of the states that benefits the
most from trade deals that lower tariffs. The new trade deal with Mexico and
Canada — Missouri’s two biggest trading partners — will lead to more jobs and
bigger paychecks. Nationwide, exports are expected to grow by $2.2 billion
under USMCA. And our trade relationship with Japan — the world’s third largest
economy — is even stronger, thanks to a new agreement that went into effect
Missouri’s economy is at its
best when we’re making things and growing things. To do that, we need to have
the right trade policies and the right regulatory policies. That’s why my colleagues
and I also worked with President Trump to get rid of massive, unnecessary
Last month, the administration
delivered an important victory for rural Missouri by undoing and replacing the
misguided Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. Over the last several years, I’ve
gone to the Senate floor many times to share the concerns of farmers, ranchers,
small business owners, and local officials who told me that WOTUS would have
driven up costs and made it impossible for them to do their jobs.
The previous administration’s
regulation would have given unelected Washington bureaucrats control over more
than 99% of Missouri, including everything from ditches to puddles to ponds.
Getting rid of this rule is an important part of the broader effort we’ve been
working on in the Senate to roll back regulations that would cost a lot, but
have little or no positive impact.
We have the strongest economy
we’ve seen in 50 years. To keep the momentum going, we need to make smart,
targeted investments in infrastructure.
Ending the digital divide is
one of the most important economic and quality-of-life issues in rural America.
Having high-speed internet is critical for students to do their homework,
businesses to reach new customers, hospitals to treat patients, and farmers to
maximize yields and access new markets. While we’ve made progress, about
one-third of rural Missourians still don’t have access to broadband.
As a member of the Senate
Appropriations and Commerce Committees, I’ve been working closely with my colleagues
and the administration to accomplish our shared goal of bringing high-speed
internet to every community in America. Just a few weeks ago, the
administration announced that our state will receive an additional $60 million
investment through a new rural broadband pilot program I was proud to support.
That program has brought a total of $100 million to Missouri providers. In
2018, Missouri was awarded the largest amount of any state through the FCC’s
Connect America Fund Phase II auction: a total of $255 million over the next 10
years. I’m continuing to work with the administration to make sure we get
federal support to the areas that need it most.
With world food demand expected
to double in the next 30 to 40 years, now is the time to be sure rural communities
are in the best position possible to take advantage of the tremendous
opportunities ahead. We’re on the right track with our trade policy, tax
policy, and regulatory policy. I will continue working with the Trump
administration to build on our success with the types of infrastructure
improvements – including highways, railways, waterways, and broadband – that
will enable Missouri families and businesses to compete and succeed around the