WASHINGTON — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s hearing encouraging news about progress on the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement.

The trade deal must first go before the U.S. House before it would go to the Senate, and Grassley says he’s seen recent reports in the media quoting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying a vote will come very soon. “She expects it to be done yet this year,” Grassley says. “Those are the strongest points I’ve heard from her. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from her about USMCA since I discussed it with her three months ago in her office.”

Many Republicans are critical of the Democrat-led House for focusing so much time on trying to impeach President Trump, but Grassley says this word from Pelosi on USMCA is cause for optimism. “This is the first that we’ve heard a period of time for it to be brought up,” Grassley says. “If it’s brought up even late this year in the House of Representatives, if it passes the House of Representatives, we can get it up right away in the United States Senate.”

Grassley says Pelosi told him she didn’t want to bring the trade agreement up in the House until she was sure it had the votes to pass, and he remains confident of its chances in the Senate. “There is a limit on debate ahead of time so we know at a certain time after this debate starts, we have an up or down vote, we don’t have any amendments, we have just one vote,” Grassley says. “I think it’ll be approved, easy, in the United States Senate.”

According to data released last month from a group called Americans for Free Trade, Iowa farmers and businesses have faced $343 million in retaliatory tariffs since the trade war began in February of 2018.