Republican Congressman Rick Crawford surprised everyone by announcing on the floor of the U.S. House that he was withdrawing a proposed amendment that could have allowed U.S. producers to extend credit to Cuba a couple of weeks ago. This amendment could have created the opportunity for Arkansas, District 1 rice producers to begin doing business with Cuba, opening doors to help the economy.
Crawford said he withdrew the amendment with assurances from Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida that they would work on a long-term deal. Unfortunately, Florida legislators have been opposed to opening trade to Cuba.
Rick is laying economic growth in the first district on the sword. His hope is that a GOP Congress, which has been staunchly opposed to most of President Barack Obama’s agenda, would suddenly transition into a more supportive role on this item.
Is this maybe a little too much to ask with a lame-duck session ahead and no guarantees that he, or any of his colleagues will be there in January to continue the work?
Let’s not forget that GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump is stumping on protectionism and is likely to veto a long-term bill that would open up this economic opportunity to Arkansas’ first district?
Congressman Crawford could have pushed for the amendment, even though it was for only a fiscal year, to at least open our district up to the economic progress and growth that can be made in the interim.
That progress could be used to support a long-term deal for the next Congress, whether Crawford or I represent district one.
Now we’re stuck hoping that the GOP, which has signaled a strong return to economic protectionism, will be less likely to continue the embargo with Cuba and to promote any legislation that threatens it.
Issues like these highlight the importance of free markets. Our government will not stop interfering in markets unless we demand free markets and that Congress stay out. Free markets are the best way to grow the economy because they create prosperity and growth at all levels of the economy.
Want a $15 an hour minimum wage? Free markets are the only way to get there sustainably.
Instead, in hopes of forcing regime change on other nations, our government stifles the free market and we’re left wondering whether Congress can make an agreement or pass a bill to open up a market that is champing at the bit to happen.
Oh … yes … I almost forgot that we’re also hoping a President Trump wouldn’t veto the effort on protectionist motivations or under GOP pressure to oppose this Democrat priority.
Crawford’s gambit is that we will be able to get a long term deal in the next Congress.
Yet Arkansas’ district one is left hanging with the reality that his decision opens the possibility for more GOP obstructionism which will delay the potential for economic growth our economic region.
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Mark West is the Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. House District 1, Arkansas in the 2016 general election.