January 16,2020

Following Passage of USMCA, Grassley Thanks Staff

Statement for the Record by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
Thursday, January 16, 2020
It’s no secret around here that staff work is key to any senator’s success. It often goes unnoticed and unthanked. But today, as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act passes Congress, I’d like to express my appreciation to the many Senate staff who work for the people of Iowa and the entire country.
Foremost among them are Kolan Davis, my Finance Committee staff director and longtime advisor of 35 years, Jeff Wrase, my deputy staff director, and Nasim Fussell, my chief international trade counsel on the committee. Their thoughtful, prudent advice and hard work were crucial to helping create the conditions that allow for nearly-unanimous passage today.
Nasim led my trade staff on the Finance Committee. Her leadership of several other key staff, including Mayur Patel, Brian Bombassaro, Andrew Brandt, Rory Heslington, Grace Kim and Michael Pinkerton, and all of their many late nights working at the office, are among the top reasons why this modernized trade agreement wasn’t just negotiated with Canada and Mexico, but will actually become law and soon take effect. Their diligent work with their Democratic counterparts, as well as the Administration, is evidenced in the overwhelming vote USMCA received.
My chief of staff, Aaron Cummings, legislative director, James Rice, and director of scheduling, Jennifer Heins, provided consistent guidance and helpful input on USMCA throughout negotiations that helped me do the job I needed to do for us to get to this point. I’m grateful for their standing by my side this past year and going above and beyond for the people of Iowa.
I’d also like to thank my communications and press staff, including Michael Zona, Taylor Foy, George Hartmann, Nicole Tieman, Melissa Kearney and Katelyn Schultz, for helping me communicate the many benefits of this trade deal to Iowans and all Americans. Their work to deliver that message to the grassroots of this country helped create the public pressure needed to encourage Congress to act and ratify USMCA.
We all know that no legislating happens in the Senate without bipartisanship. That’s why today I say congratulations and thank you to Ranking Member Wyden and his staff for all their hard work. They are Joshua Sheinkman, staff director, Mike Evans, deputy staff director, Jayme White, chief advisor on international competitiveness and innovation, and Greta Peisch, Sally Laing, Virginia Lenahan and Rachel Lang.
Of course, also critical to the bill’s passage were Ambassador Bob Lighthizer and his hardworking team at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, particularly John Melle and Maria Pagan.
Getting the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO to both endorse this trade deal was no easy feat, and it took both sides’ good faith efforts to get us here.
You’ve heard me extol all the good that USMCA will do for this nation’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and workers of all stripes. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars added to the economy, new market access and a framework for the future of international trade. It’s these staff members who also deserve to share in the nation’s gratitude and celebration.
Thank you all.