One of the top Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee is calling on the Biden administration to “lean in to trade” in 2023.

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., tells Agri-Pulse Newsmakers he’s seen “little action” from the administration during the first two years of President Joe Biden's term, a sentiment echoed by other GOP lawmakers on the committee.  

The Biden administration has not sent any new trade deals to Congress for consideration, and farm groups have recently turned up the pressure on the administration, which announced earlier this week it is seeking new dispute settlement consultations with Canada to expand the scope of its challenge to restrictions on U.S. dairy exports. In addition, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has been involved for weeks in negotiations over biotech corn trade with Mexico.

But even if new deals were to be submitted to Congress for approval, the process for considering them on Capitol Hill is currently hindered by the lack of Trade Promotion Authority. The Biden administration has not asked Congress to reauthorize TPA, legislation that allows the president to ensure a trade deal will be submitted to Capitol Hill for an up-or-down vote without the threat of Congress amending it.

“Our wanting to talk about TPA and get it done … puts the pressure on the administration to tell us what they want, rather than just to be so quiet about it,” said Smith. 

“If they would just talk about it, just bring it up and touch on it, but in fact, they haven't,” said Smith. 

Smith says the U.S. needs to “level the playing field” with its trade partners, arguing recent trade deals have offered other countries “more access to our markets than they've given to us.”

“That's created an imbalance,” he said. “We see what Europe now wants to do on carbon, creating even more imbalance. We can't just sit back and accept this. We need to lean into this issue, push back and expect other countries — especially our friends  — to expect us to want to level the playing field and respond accordingly.”

This week's Newsmakers, which also includes a discussion about the Agri-Pulse CEO salary report with company founder and president Sara Wyant, can be found on

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