King discusses impact of tariffs on trade

Congressmann Steve King toured Plas-Tech Tooling, Inc. in Garner during a visit to Hancock County on Aug. 1. King is pictured with Plas-Tech president Dean Sonquist (right) and State Senator Dennis Guth (center). King later discussed trade and traffs with members of the Farm Bureau. Rebecca Peter | The Leader

GARNER – The impact of the burgeoning trade war between the U.S. and China on agriculture and manufacturing was the chief topic of discussion during a visit by Congressman Steve King (R) at Garner, Aug. 1.

King toured Plas-Tech Tooling, Inc., a manufacturer of injection molding and machining of plastic and metal components. The company is in its 25th year of business, and employs 13.

Dean Sonquist, company president, was concerned about the rising cost of health care coverage for employees, regulations, and other challenges to his small business.

 “That’s one of the toughest things for a small business - making family health care affordable,” Sonquist said prior to a private meeting with King.

He noted that while the Affordable Care Act [aka Obamacare] provided broader coverage for preexisting conditions, “which maybe is a good thing, but on the flip side, our premiums have gone crazy,” he said.

While the Trump administration’s tariffs haven’t affected his company directly, yet, he is concerned.

Sonquist was hopeful, however, that the “short-term pain” caused by the tariffs will be “offset long-term gains.”

“The pain is going to be tough,” he stated.

Meeting with Farm Bureau

The tour at Plas-Tech was followed by a question and answer session with representatives from the Farm Bureau. King started the conversation by discussing components of the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Some of the things we talked about are changes to the CRP (Conservation Reserve Program). The House has one version. The Senate has another version,” he said. “There are going to be some improvements in the CRP. They’ll be capped at a percentage of county cash rent.”

The congressman said the biggest piece of the proposed Farm Bill is the work requirements that are being put into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps).

 “We would like to get these two bills resolved by the end of September and, just once in recent history, get a Farm Bill to the president’s desk before we have to do an extension.”

King said there wouldn’t be significant change to Federal Crop Insurance.

“We expected there would be a fight, but it didn’t come,” he stated.

Read the complete story in the Aug. 8 Leader.