Vice President Mike Pence didn't mince words in his visit to Manning Farms in Waukee on Wednesday — urging Democrats in Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the end of the year — a move he says will bring enumerable benefits to Iowa in regards to manufacturing and farming.

”It's time for the Democrats in Congress to do their job, put politics aside and pass the USMCA this year,” Pence said. “The truth is, and we all know it, Democrats have been spending all their time on endless investigations and a partisan impeachment. But enough is enough.”

To a crowd of more than 500 supporters at the America First Policies event, Pence touted the Trump Administration's dedication to an agenda he says favors Iowans, citing “promises made and promises kept,” and noted the USCMA is an example of the president's commitment to Iowan agriculture.

USMCA, if approved via congressional vote, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement enacted in 1994, and Pence said its passage would drive demand for the state's farm goods. Previously, President Donald Trump stated NAFTA is “the worst trade deal ever.”

Mexico and Canada are among Iowa's largest agricultural trade partners, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They also make up roughly $14 million Iowa's total exports, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

“USMCA is a great opportunity for Iowa workers and Iowa businesses,” Pence said. “Time has come for Congresswoman Cindy Axne (who represents Iowa's 3rd District) and all the Democrats in Congress that represent Iowa to put Iowa first, American first — pass the USMCA this year.”

When Trump rolled out the deal in July, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted the Democrats would not pass the deal without tweaks to include greater environmental protections. Pence said Iowans should keep in mind no major 2020 Democratic candidate has come out in support of the deal.

Iowa's agricultural market has been caught in the crosshairs of the U.S.-China trade war. When Chinese officials enforced retaliatory tariffs in response to the U.S. imposing tariffs on more than 800 Chinese products on July 2018, Iowa's corn and soybean markets were hit hard.

Iowa farmers and ethanol business have also been rocked by the EPA's decision to grant 31 new small-refinery exemptions waivers in August.

Recently, the Trump administration responded to months of concerns from Iowa's farming community that said it was undermining homegrown biofuels — by vowing to increase the ethanol mandate, beginning next year, above the 15-billion-gallon-a-year target that is set by law.

The Trump administration has been honed on trade this past month, with the announcement of a limited trade deal with Japan and a trade renegotiation with South Korea. Pence said Chinese leaders will meet with Trump and trade officials in Washington, D.C., later this week.

“Negotiations are going forward with China,” Pence said. “But I promise you, President Trump is going to continue to stand strong for American businesses and American farmers.”

Iowa farmers, such Bill Denny, of Warren County, said that while it's been a tough year on his farm, he's confident in USMCA, and also the Trump Administration as a whole.

“Trump has our back,” Denny said. “He's been dogged down by the partisan 'riff-raff', but when you look what he's doing by keeping China honest — how can you not see what he's done.”

Under the new deal, cars or trucks must have 75 percent of their components manufactured in Mexico, the US, or Canada to qualify for zero tariffs, a substantial increase from 62.5 percent in the original NAFTA.

Another provision of the agreement calls for 40 to 45 percent of automobile content to be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023. This provision specifically targets Mexico and is meant to bring wages there up to American and Canadian standards of pay.

According to the American Soybean Association, soybean farmers, whose crop represents 41 percent of the value of products on China's tariff list, have seen U.S. soybean price drop more than $2 per bushel.

Soybean growers rely heavily on exports to China. In 2017, China imported 31 percent of U.S. soybeans, equal to 60 percent of total U.S soybean exports and nearly one in every three rows of harvested beans, according to Farm Progress.

Pence was joined by Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, all who voiced their support for USMCA, as well as the Trump Administration.

“The clock is ticking, and Americans are waiting for Congress to pass USMCA so they can reap the benefits,” Grassley said.