U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, said President Donald Trump is “very upbeat, very optimistic” about a U.S.-Chinese trade deal, and that has the Kansas Congressman thinking a deal could come sooner rather than later.
“I’ve never seen him so upbeat,” Marshall said of Trump’s discussion on trade this week during a meeting with some members of Congress, including Marshall.
“If you had asked me in January,” Marshall said during a telephone conference with the media Friday, he would have thought the trade agreement with China was years away. “It’s certainly not years away,” Marshall said, but “maybe months away.”
Leadership members of the conservative Republican Study Committee went to the White House Tuesday to talk about advancing the committee’s agenda. Marshall, a physician, is chairman of the group’s Health Care Task Force. Marshall thought it would be a relatively short session with Trump, but it ran for about an hour and a half, he said.
“He just blew me away, his depth of knowledge on trade,” Marshall said.
Marshall said Trump wanted him to relay to Kansas farmers that he “appreciated their patriotism” and that he “’absolutely understands the pain that they’re undergoing” with the trade wars. He “just expressed his gratitude for all the efforts of agriculture, hanging in there with him,” Marshall said.
Trump wants to get a good deal with China and he wants the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement done as well, Marshall said.
The topic of additional mitigation payments to farmers hurt by trade wars was not raised. Marshall said he had not given that much thought, either, because farmers are telling him to get the foreign markets open.
On health care, Marshall heard Trump say, “’First, Roger, whatever we do, we have to make sure” that pre-existing conditions are addressed in a healthcare coverage program.
Trump wants to drive costs down, and that includes lowering drug costs, Marshall said. The President also favors more transparency in health care costs and expanding health care savings accounts.
Marshall said the need for workers and health care are the two issues he hears the most in the 1st Congressional District.